Wednesday, March 5, 2008

on keeping urban chickens v keeping cats and dogs

Nice article coming out of Keokuk, Iowa (map) about the case a local chicken farmer, Celia Malm, is making for keeping a flock in her yard within the limits of the city (pop ~ 10,600).
She does a great job of questioning why chickens are lumped in under the livestock ban when the other livestock (cows, horses, goats, etc) are so much bigger.
“In fact, chickens are smaller than cats or dogs - both of which are allowed in the city - and chickens produce less waste than either of these household pets,” she said. “In addition, the waste products of chickens can be recycled through composting, producing high quality compost suitable for use in gardens. The waste products of carnivores cannot be recycled safely in this way; it simply adds to landfills.”

While chickens would be required to be penned at a distance from neighboring homes, dogs “are permitted to roam all the way to the property line, barking and leaving waste products within easy reach of a neighbor's ears, eyes and nose,” Malm said.
Her proposal for urban chicken regulations in Keokuk:
  • Up to 10 chickens shall be permitted on any city lot.
  • Chickens must be kept penned.
  • The pen must be located no closer than 25 feet to neighboring dwellings.
  • The city may require an annual permit to keep chickens.
And Malm has done her homework, too (like we have), pointing out that "several cities permit chickens in city limits, including Des Moines; Chicago; Los Angeles, Calif.; Minneapolis, Minn.; St. Louis, Mo.; Seattle, Wash., and Omaha, Neb."

The City Council, after hearing Malm's reasoning, is asking the Code Revision Subcommittee for a possible recommendation. Here's hoping her petition is successful.


Granny Annie said...

She left out "banning roosters". Really the only way people know you have chickens is when they hear the rooster/s. This morning I'm listening to my 8 roosters and they are quite a chorus. Lucky we are in the country.

Unknown said...

Excellent point, Granny Annie... you help me realize I've already taken the rooster ban as a given, but others need to take care to make the ban on those guys explicit. Wwe all know you get plenty of eggs, but no new chickens, without any roosters around.

Carla said...

A couple of days ago, I was thinking about chickens being labeled as 'agricultural'. I realized that a few decades ago, cats weren't allowed in the house. They were kept in the barn and had a job to do, ie. keeping the mouse population down. Most 'pets' earned their keep.


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