Urban chicken movement taking roost in KC area ~ Kansas City Star

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by BuckeyeDave, May 12, 2009.

  1. BuckeyeDave

    BuckeyeDave Overrun with Buckeyes

    May 27, 2008
    Minster, Ohio
    My Coop

    chicken movement taking roost in KC area
    The Kansas City Star

    Chickens could be coming to roost in a backyard near you.

    Across the country and the metropolitan area, people are joining the national urban chicken movement, sometimes turning outlaw to raise the birds.

    The movement started with the rationale that raising chickens fits in with efforts toward local and pure foods, supporters say, and the eggs are fresh and flavorful. The animals also are entertaining pets, many say.

    Today, Overland Park homeowner David Crupper will seek a special-use permit to house up to four chickens, even though he already has the birds and a homemade coop in his backyard.

    No disrespect for the law was intended, he said, but he had to buy the chicks before a farm supply business stopped selling them for the year. Crupper, 25, a financial adviser, is far from a hippie, he said, but he wants to get great eggs from “the girls.”

    “It’s a nice little hobby people can get behind,” he said, and he thinks his neighbors will support him.

    Crupper has mailed certified letters to all of the neighbors within 200 feet and has posted a sign in his front yard advising them of the Planning Commission meeting.

    But precedent isn’t on Crupper’s side. Four years ago, another Overland Park family tried to get such a permit. By a vote of 7-5, the City Council wouldn’t allow it.

    Opponents said then that chickens did not belong in Overland Park. Some said the birds were unsanitary.

    Overland Park City Councilman Jim Hix, who voted against the chickens in 2005, said this week that he would probably do so again.

    “Wanting eggs is not unique,” he said. “It’s not a good idea to have chickens in a suburban area under normal circumstances.”

    In Mission, the City Council recently sent to committee a proposal to change its law to allow urban chickens. Jerritt Dayhoff requested the change because her family would like to raise five or six chickens. She is a former Jackson County public defender who grew up on a farm, she said.

    “Chickens are a heck of a lot quieter and cleaner than dogs,” said Dayhoff, 33. They make interesting pets, she said, and “It’s nice to tell your kids your breakfast came from Myrtle or Madge.”

    But Councilman John Weber, 77, said he has seen the city grow out of farmland and sees no reason to go back.

    “If we’re going to be residential, we ought to be residential,” he said.

    Some cities on board

    In 2004, Madison, Wis., was among the first of several cities to change laws to allow limited numbers of chickens, but usually not crowing roosters. New York City has long allowed chickens. The birds live in urban areas in Chicago; Albuquerque, N.M.; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and other cities.

    Many Web sites and Backyard Poultry magazine support the effort, which they say is still growing in this country, Great Britain and Canada.

    BackYardChickens.com has 30,000 members — up from 20,000 last December — and it grows by 100 members a day, said its owner, Rob Ludlow.

    KT LaBadie, an Albuquerque graduate student who started urbanchickens.org, said people are tearing out lawns to grow vegetables, and chickens are a natural next step.

    Some cities have changed their laws because so many people were keeping chickens illegally, she said.

    Afoul of the law

    In Kansas City, residents are allowed to have chickens only if they are 100 feet away from the nearest home or business, and the birds are not allowed to roam.

    That hasn’t stopped two women in different Kansas City neighborhoods from raising chickens illegally, and they say they are doing it for the fresh eggs.

    At one house, nine big chickens roam in a fenced backyard where a wooden chicken coop looks like a garden shed. The 28-year-old homeowner has given names to all nine of her chickens, and she has pictures of herself with each on her MySpace page. The hens produce about six or seven eggs a day, and she sells or trades any extra eggs to pay for feed.

    In another Kansas City neighborhood, a 49-year-old woman raises just one chicken.

    The hen, called simply Chicken, spends time in the garden this time of year, scratching up the soil and fertilizing it with its droppings. In winter, it lives in a coop in the basement. Chicken lays about five eggs a week.

    Light enforcement

    Both of the Kansas City women said their neighbors haven’t complained, and some are checking into getting chickens themselves.

    So does that mean more chickens and lawbreaking are on the way?

    Dave Marak, a supervisor with Kansas City animal control, said a crew recently took five illegal chickens to the animal shelter, something it does occasionally.

    Few people retrieve chickens there because of a $25 pickup fee and $10 a day in expenses, he said, plus chicken owners could get fined.

    The fine is up to $250, but judges generally don’t impose anywhere near that, and cases sometimes get dismissed, he said.

    Animal control generally goes after chickens only when someone complains, he said.

    “Usually if a complaint comes in, it’s because they’re letting them run loose or a new neighbor comes in,” he said.

    Marak takes no position on the controversy other than to note that strong forces are in play.

    “There’s nothing better than a fresh egg,” he said.

    Nice pro chicken article.
  2. tkvance

    tkvance Out Of The Brooder

    May 12, 2009
    I read this article earlier today, too.

    There is definitely a movement toward raising chickens. I'm thinking of starting 3 or 4 hens in south orange county, ca, too......
  3. 2sprouts

    2sprouts New Egg

    Apr 2, 2009
    Kansas City suburbs
    Hi! I'm new to the BYC forum-- I have three 7 week old buff orpington pullets and I live in Lee's Summit, in a very "cookie-cutter" neighborhood. Just read the editorial today in the KC Star on why backyard coops should not be allowed http://www.kansascity.com/340/story/1193879.html . I responded with the following:

    "I completely agree we have wonderful farmers markets in KC and surrounding areas. Hen House and Whole Foods carry local eggs as well. However, some of us who own chickens aren't in it just for eggs. I have 3 chickens and I live in Lee's Summit. I have them for 3 reasons: to help my kids realize where food comes from, as pets, and for the few healthy eggs I will get. My concerns are the same as my neighbors' concerns: noise, aesthetics and cleanliness. Ordinances should address these issues -- not just with chickens but also with dogs, rabbits, etc. Personally, I'm addressing these issues by having hens, not roosters; constructing a coop that is aimed at blending in with the back of my home and is sheltered from wide view by a large tree, and by rigorously cleaning the coop and the yard around it. I talked with all my neighbors prior to getting chickens and if there is any problem at all, I'm prepared to find the hens a new home. Responsibility is the key, as with any animal ownership."
    CuriousQueen and COOP Group like this.

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