Iowa City considers inner-city chickens - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City considers inner-city chickens

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - It's an idea that has some Iowa City residents clucking: the ability to keep up to four hens on properties within city limits.

But are those clucks of anger or happiness? That all depends on who you talk to.

"You can look to source your food more locally, and what could be more local than your own backyard?" said Theresay Carbrey, Education and Member Services Coordinator for the New Pioneer Food Co-op. Carbrey says the benefits of having egg-laying hens go beyond saving a few pennies at the local market. She speaks from experience, having raised several herself.

"Hens can be educational, entertaining, and a reliable source of good-quality protein," said Carbrey.

Some opponents say noise would be an issue, but the current proposal would not allow roosters, which Carbrey says are the loud ones. "The hens are not that noisy, their waste can be composted, and they can be kept in a relatively small space."

Still, some city officials say keeping hens, which are considered livestock, would ruffle the feathers of many residents. "Raising chickens with neighbors around that are against that idea could cause problems," said Doug Boothroy, the city's Director of Housing and Inspection Services.

Problems between neighbors, Boothroy says, would mean more interventions on the city's part, which it doesn't have the staff for. Cities with laws allowing chickens, he added, usually have few residents who take advantage of them. "It seems to me that for a few, we may cause a lot of problems for many."

Boothroy says the birds can also pose health risks, if not cared for. Sick hens can attract parasites and rodents, and their coops can give off unpleasant odors. He says if a person applying for a chicken permit has neighbors who don't want them around, it could be a deal-breaker.

But that could be months away; a city zoning ordinance must be amended to allow livestock, as well as an animal control ordinance.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

Powered by Frankly