Hello Everyone! Good news! I spoke to our Village President and he told me he didn't think there would be a problem changing the "no chicken" ordinance in our Village to accommodate backyard hens. He did, however, ask me to put together a "Presentation" and to speak to the Council at the next meeting. YIKES!!! I've never done anything like this! Here is what I've put together so far. Please give me some feedback!! Anything I need to add, delete or change? This forum has been so helpful! Thanks in advance!! Presentation to the Mulliken Village Council concerning Backyard Chickens. Some of you may ask, Why Chickens? I could counter with the question, Why not?, but that really isnt helpful. Instead, Ill start with my personal reasons for wanting a small flock of hens in my backyard. 1. I like Chickens. They are funny, loveable birds with quirky, individual personalities. 2. I want fresh eggs. Eggs from my own hens will be fresher and healthier. Most eggs from a grocery store come from hens that live their entire lives in a tiny cage, indoors, and are only fed chicken feed. No bugs or fresh greens. Chickens are naturally omnivores. They will eat just about anything, and the resulting eggs are higher in nutrition, including Omega 3. 3. I want their droppings for fertilizer. Chicken manure is rich in nitrogen, and when properly composted, makes excellent fertilizer for the garden. 4. Chickens are educational. Children can learn so much from chickens! We all need to be more aware of where our food comes from, and its easy for kids to make that connection with chickens. They are also a good way for kids to learn how to care for animals responsibly. 5. Chickens are Green. Our Federal Government is urging its citizens to go Green and to find ways to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly life. If you give a few hens a safe, comfortable place to live and fresh food and water every day, in return you will get fresh eggs, excellent fertilizer, and wonderful pets. Some folks may argue that chickens are smelly and noisy. Roosters can be loud, and tend to crow earlier than most people appreciate, and they can be aggressive, but a backyard flock doesnt need a rooster. Hens will lay their eggs for you with or without a rooster. Some hens will cackle proudly when the lay an egg, but they dont crow like a rooster, and they arent as loud as a barking dog. Noise really shouldnt be an issue with a small flock of backyard hens. Coops will get smelly if they are not properly maintained, but so will a dog run. Cleaning and maintaining the coop is an important part of chicken care, as is cleaning your cats kitty litter box or using a pooper scooper for you dog. There should not be any more noise or smell issues with a small flock of backyard chickens, than you would get with any other pets that are kept outside in a pen. Here are some considerations for an Ordinance regarding chickens within our Village limits. 1. Number of hens allowed: Chickens are flock birds. They need a minimum number of birds to feel secure. I would suggest a minimum of 4, and a maximum of 8 birds for a backyard flock. Once a hen reaches maturity, she can lay one egg a day, so 4 hens will easily provide plenty of eggs for a family. I dont recommend roosters within the Village limits. 2. A proper coop and run: Since we are in Michigan, with cold winters, our chickens will tend to stay close together for warmth. The coop does not need to be large, but it does need to be snug and predator proof. The outside pen should be roomy enough for the hens to roam a bit, and again, be predator proof. Free range chickens are great, but are harder to protect from predators, and may wander into yards other than their own. I dont recommend allowing free ranging, though supervised yard outings should be O.K. 3. Coop and run location: Backyard flocks should be located a certain distance from neighboring homes, to avoid smell and noise issues. I feel that this should be a flexible rule, based on the size and location of each individual yard. As a general rule, I would suggest a minimum distance of 20 yards between a coop and a neighboring home. I believe that keeping a small flock of backyard hens would be a benefit to anyone who wishes to do so, and should be encouraged within the Village limits of Mulliken.