How to prepare for a town council meeting!?

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


May 10, 2015
Hi All,

So, now I have an obsession with changing our local ordinances but I have never done anything like this before and need some mentors. I understand that I have to attend a meeting and at the beginning of the meeting fill out some paperwork in order to speak. I am assuming that the more information I am armed with that is pro-chicken is better than just going and saying...I WANT CHICKENS. What kind of stuff should I bring? Here's what I was thinking:

Examples of ordinances from neighboring towns
Research regarding positive things about keeping backyard chickens
Information showing that it will not spread diseases or foul odors, etc

Should I make a packet to hand out to the council members? Should I bring a petition signed by people who think we should change the rules? Do i just stand there and rattle off information? Will they ask questions?

Obviously I need some guidance here. Thank you for any insights, research, experiences, etc.
Below is what I wrote in my thread after three years of fighting. Hopefully it helps. If you want to just get your foot in the door, it will be difficult unless you have a commissioner/council member that will speak up for you as well.

Also, where do you live? Maybe there aren't any restrictions already.

Find out if you have a time limit for speaking, and tailor your message accordingly. If there is a restrictive time limit, you can do your speaking in "installments" by attending future meetings and making one or two pertinent points at each meeting.

If you don't have a time limit, it's still good to have a clear, concise message and not ramble. Give an overview first, and then go on to expand upon those points. That way if they cut you off or if the discussion gets bogged down, you have put your basic information out front.

I made up a brief (not overwhelming) written packet to give Council members. That way, they can refer to the info as they have any behind-the-scenes discussions among themselves before the next council meeting. It also gives them an opportunity to look over & think over the information rather than feeling pressured to make a decision on the spot (an on-the-spot decision will almost always be a "NO" because it's easier for them to maintain the status quo).

Be respectful and polite. Also, realize that these things may take a persistent effort to get changed, so don't get frustrated or disgusted when things don't immediately go your way. Be ready to make some compromises if necessary -- for instance, if noise is an objection, then you sacrifice the rooster ;) Thank the Council members for taking the time to listen to you and consider your proposal.

Don't rat out anyone else -- don't say, "So-and-so down on Main St keeps chickens in his yard, why can't I?" Maybe they don't realize So-and-so has chickens, and now he's gonna have some homeless hens :(

In addition to ordinances from nearby towns, you might include info from a big city (even in another state) that allows chickens. People are often surprised that some large cities allow backyard flocks. Certainly if disease transmission etc is not a problem in a heavily populated area, it should be much less of a problem in a smaller town.

In my case, unfortunately the ordinance was not changed, but I did manage to get my property "grandfathered" in as an exception, so it was a personal victory but not a community victory. However, due to my schedule and also some health considerations, I was unable to launch a sustained effort with petitions, etc. I'll have to leave that to someone else.

Good luck!
One route I took was showing community involvement. Some towns have "Tour De Coops" and Chick Get together; also if you have a local 4H extension office check with them on showing chickens and having the family involved.
Our City council went up and down for a few months and we finally had it passed. Bring a buddy too.
Good luck

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom