The backyard chicken policy is currently working it’s way through city staff and will be coming to the boards and commissions in the next month or two.
At last night’s city council meeting, a duo of Shakopee High School seniors from the Environmental Ethics class brought up a very interesting idea for Shakopee: Backyard Chickens.
I applaud the students and their teachers – Mr. Ed Loiselle and Mr. Billy Koenig – for their hard work and bringing this to council. Their proposal is to limit to 3 hens (no roosters for morning wakeup calls), get a permit, neighbor consent, no egg sales and keep them clean so it doesn’t smell. The benefits being fresh eggs for healthy food, responsibility for kids, teaching values of agriculture and having fertilizer for your garden.
It is working well in Burnsville, Minneapolis, St Paul and other cities that currently allow chickens. Golden Valley is looking into it and Mankato killed their push because of a strict neighbor consent provision. I grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa with chickens, hogs, cattle, sheep, turkeys, dogs, cats and everything that comes with it. A lot of communities have struggled with urban chickens, but I haven’t seen any real-world, logical data saying chickens would cause any more problems than dogs or cats.
Update: Spent a little time today calling other cities who currently allow backyard chickens. Minneapolis was extremely helpful.
Last year they gave out 147 permits and are seeing considerable growth in the popular program this year. They implement it in an interesting way and have for over 20 years. Minneapolis surveys 80% of the properties within 100′ of the requested permit for their approval of as many hens and/or roosters as the permit is requesting. She can remember only a few that were turned down by the neighbors and has never received word of any sickness or health issues related to the birds. The only problems she receives are with roosters crowing.
Given Shakopee’s history as a rural community, I think it would be great to explore bringing more agriculture within the city limits through community gardens, backyard chickens and other avenues. What do you think?