Need your input to help draft new city ordinance for Backyard Chickens!

SkiboJeff

Songster
Oct 29, 2020
143
323
113


Greetings all and Happy New Year. I'm new to the group and don't have a coop or any chickens yet. I have designed my ideal coop and I've fantasized about the breeds of chickens I'm going to get. One slight issue is holding me up. My city, approximate population of 75,000, doesn't presently allow chickens. Our city council met in September 2020 to discuss a chicken ordinance and they have a Study Group meeting, this Jan 12th, to discuss the possibility of creating an ordinance. I know all of the council folks very well and I am a commissioner on an unrelated city advisory board. It is my intention to write them all a letter, prior to their study session, outlining my opinion as to which issues and type of things should be addressed by the (hopefully) new ordinance.

Some things I am thinking about:
  • Chickens are flock animals and at least 8-12 adult chickens should be allowed.
  • Provide definition of birds by age. Allow 8-12 chicks, pullets, and cockerels under the age of 30 weeks.
  • Allow one rooster if kept in coop from dusk to dawn. Needed for predator security and breeding.
  • Follow same noise ordinance as dogs.
  • Keep the rules for coops and runs simple. Make them a part of zoning ordinance. Define similarly to greenhouses and auxiliary outbuildings like garden sheds.
  • Reasonable care of the animals must be afforded in all aspects including proper handling, restraining, sheltering, exercise, grooming, nutrition, watering, parasite and waste management, and veterinary care for the species of animal kept. Industry or breed standards for the breed and type of animal may be used to determine whether reasonable care is being provided. Poor condition or health in the absence of veterinary supervision is prima facie evidence of a violation.
  • Clean water must at all times be present and available for the animals. Feed must be animal-appropriate and stored in such a manner as to prohibit contamination by moisture, mold, and insects and to restrict access by rodents.
  • Odors from the animals or from animal waste must not be discernible at any property line.
  • Waste must be collected and removed or composted regularly.
  • Slaughter must be limited to personal livestock, must not be conducted in the front yard, and must be conducted within a completely screened area. Remains must be disposed of and removed from the site within 24 hours.
Thanks in advance for your help.
SkiboJeff

(FYI - Skibo is an off the grid place in the Superior National Forest area of northern MN. Although I live in a big city near Minneapolis, I also own a cabin there and my neighbors have 40 chickens).
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
19,474
40,163
1,112
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
One thing I'm curious is what is the general lot size and house set back in your city?

Asking to allow roosters in a suburban environment is almost a guaranteed way to have this voted down without anyone looking at any other part of your plan. 12 birds is also a lot more than most cities allow, however if the average home in your city is on acreage lots, then that's a different matter.

What is the current setback required for auxiliary outbuildings?
 

SkiboJeff

Songster
Oct 29, 2020
143
323
113
One thing I'm curious is what is the general lot size and house set back in your city?

Asking to allow roosters in a suburban environment is almost a guaranteed way to have this voted down without anyone looking at any other part of your plan. 12 birds is also a lot more than most cities allow, however if the average home in your city is on acreage lots, then that's a different matter.

What is the current setback required for auxiliary outbuildings?

Many people have 1/2 acre lots or larger. Setback for auxiliary buildings is 6 ft.
 

CluckerFamily

Enabler
5 Years
Feb 14, 2016
10,370
61,110
1,131
Wisconsin
Another thing just popped in my head, when ordinances are being debated, the same comment seems to be made: chickens bring predators into the area: raccoons, skunks, weasels, rats, etc.
Obviously, you wouldn’t write this in your letter but I would at least think of a statement or rebuttal if this comment is brought up.
 

SkiboJeff

Songster
Oct 29, 2020
143
323
113
I agree that 8-12 chickens is a huge number for that size of a lot. Most prefab coops can only house about 3 full grown chickens (prefab coops also over exaggerate what coops can house, their number they advertise should at least be cut in half)
Roosters crow 24/7/365 not just at dusk or dawn but all day and all night.
Thanks for the feedback. I should probably go for a minimum of four. Current ordinance allows for four dogs and cats without a license. More are allowed with a license and fee.
 

SkiboJeff

Songster
Oct 29, 2020
143
323
113
Another thing just popped in my head, when ordinances are being debated, the same comment seems to be made: chickens bring predators into the area: raccoons, skunks, weasels, rats, etc.
Obviously, you wouldn’t write this in your letter but I would at least think of a statement or rebuttal if this comment is brought up.
We have lots of "open spaces" with ponds, slews, etc., so there are already numerous foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and hawks.
 

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