Duluth City Chickens
Talking Points about
Raising Backyard Chickens
allows chickens in suburban zones, but the code is unclear
about residential zones. The proposed amendment to the Zoning Code
would add language that would allow chickens in residential zones.
(Note #1: Residents in rental buildings would have to get permission
from their landlord.)
(Note #2: Duluth City Chickens is okay with excluding commercial zones.)
Chapter 6 of the City Code contains regulations for ¬animals and fowl® in the city. This is where the details are spelled out, such as how many chickens are allowed, what kind of permit is needed, etc. The citys animal control officer, Carrie Lane, is working on revising this chapter. She will add appropriate language regulating chickens in residential zones.
The City Council will have to review and approve the revisions to Chapter 6 . Carrie Lane hopes to have this ready for Council review in late July. The Council will not be asked to vote on the amendment to the Zoning Code until the revised Chapter 6 is ready.
Duluth City Chickens representatives have worked with animal control officer Carrie Lane, as well as Chuck Froseth of the Planning Department, to create the regulations for raising chickens in residential areas. We are working with and support the efforts of the animal control officer.
Both the Zoning Code and Chapter 6 will make it clear that no roosters are allowed (only hens), and that chickens may be raised in residential zones only for domestic use and consumption (in other words, no egg-selling businesses will be allowed). It will also require that chickens must be kept in an enclosed area.
A permit will be required . The process for obtaining the permit will be similar to that for dogs and cats. It will cost $8 (the same as other animal permits currently cost.) This fee will contribute to paying the animal control officer to enforce the regulations.
Questions Often Asked About Raising Chickens (and some answers)
Are not chickens messy and smelly? Good maintenance practices ± such as cleaning out the coop regularly, keeping it dry, and having a clean/dry area of sand or dirt for the birds to take dust baths in ³ keep the birds happy, healthy, and odor free. A chicken that is properly cared for is just as clean as a dog or house bird.
Is there enough space in a small backyard? Domestic chickens have few if any needs that cant be met in a small yard by a conscientious caretaker. An enclosed shelter that gives 3 to 4 square feet per large adult bird, and that provides protection from the elements and predators is a fine space. A run or movable pen (a place for them to scratch around) that allows for occasional outdoor exposure is optimal for the health of the chicken. So, for four hens, a 3'x4' coop plus a run that is roughly 3'x8' is more than adequate .
Arent roosters necessary for hens to lay eggs? Hens lay eggs without the help of roosters . Roosters are only necessary if you want fertilized eggs.
But what about winter? Chickens can live quite happily, through the coldest winter, if they have an insulated coop or a light (for heat) inside their coop . The smaller the coop, the easier it is for them to keep it warm. Some breeds are hardier than others, and by choosing the right breed for the climate, the birds survive winters just fine.
Dont chickens attract ¬vermin®? Maintaining a clean operation minimizes the chance of attracting vermin . Feeding only what the chickens will eat up completely ensures that no food will be left on the ground to attract unwanted animals such as skunks. Storing feed in metal containers also helps reduce the chance of attracting unwanted pests. Proper composting of chicken litter (or litter removal) and keeping property clear of nesting areas for pests are also good preventative measures.
Are chickens a health hazard? According to the Minnesota Department of Health there are no health concerns regarding backyard flocks because they involve such a small number of birds. Chickens raised in clean, well maintained conditions are healthy birds. Backyard flocks are usually checked at least once or twice daily by their owners, and if something is not right with a flock, it is noticed right away, In addition, backyard flocks are isolated from other flocks and from wild birds and do not contribute to spreading disease.
Does the state require permits to keep chickens in urban areas? No permits are required for backyard flocks from the Ag dept or the Health Department or the Board of Animal Health in MN because they are primarily smaller scale (pet scale production!) and for home consumption and use.
Why Do People Want to Raise Chickens in Residential Areas?
Raising backyard chickens is a productive hobby for urban dwellers
Growing and eating ones own food is healthy and helps to reduce the carbon footprint of our food supply. Its more sustainable than transporting food long distances.
Chickens are great recyclers ³ they use up kitchen scraps (reduce waste) and turn them into fertilizer for the garden (help produce more food!).
Backyard chickens provide the best tasting, freshest eggs. With the rising cost of food, many people want to be able to raise as much of their own food as possible.
Chickens can bring neighbors together ± they bring their children, grandchildren, and friends over to see the chickens. Neighbors get interested in taking care of the backyard flock and intergenerational friendships grow, children learn about food, biology, geography, and community.
Chickens are entertaining and enjoyable. Many breeds are quite fanciful and full of interesting personality and character!
Raising backyard chickens is a good family activity
Raising chickens is part of a healthy lifestyle that can help build awareness of healthy food and good eating habits in a positive and engaging way for children and their families. Its a fun way to approach solutions for childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
Families can spend some quality time together taking care of and enjoying their chickens. Children love feeding them and watching them!
Raising a few chickens gives children another opportunity to connect with where our food comes from. They learn that eggs come from chickens, not from the store.
Chickens help improve soil fertility, and are great at tilling the garden.
Other Useful Points
Education, support, and workshops are available to beginners; lots of experienced people in the area are willing to share their knowledge and act as mentors.
Sustainable Farming Association and Duluth Community Garden Program are supportive of allowing chickens in residential areas and can provide information for chicken owners.
Prepared by Duluth City Chickens , June 2008 (www.duluthcitychickens.org.)