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Today's Question: Should raising chickens in the city be allowed?

Friday, July 31, 2009 | 1:00 p.m. CDT; updated 4:40 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 20, 2009

As the public's conciousness increases about home-grown produce and eating seasonal vegetables, many are now saying that raising chickens in the city is the next step for sustainable living. The idea to loosen the laws about urban chickens went up before the City Council, and proponents began a city-wide campaign to draft a new chicken ordinance. 

A Missourian article by Bailey Jones and Paige Pritchard quoted Greg Baka, a self-employed businessman, about his support for changing the current restrictions on raising chickens. "Gardening has become such a common and popular thing, having a few chickens is a sort of natural extension of that,” Baka said. “If you’re already raising your own vegetables, to be able to raise your own eggs goes along well with that hobby.”

Current city ordinances do not specify the number of chickens allowed at a residence, only that half an acre be allotted per chicken. A proposal by the Board of Health recommended a maximum of four chickens, while residents wanting a change in the ordinance are asking for that figure to be changed to 15 chickens. 

If the city maintains the maximum number of chickens allowed to four, Columbia would be considerably stricter than most Missouri cities that have changed their ordinances to allow chickens. Kansas City allows residents to own 15 chickens, Independence allows 20, and Springfield allows 25.

The Missourian article reports that the city has only received one complaint in the past eight years since the ordinance allowing chickens was passed. 

Do you think raising chickens in urban environments is a step forward for sustainable lifestyle or a step back in the wrong direction?


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr July 31, 2009 | 3:54 p.m.

A step back in the wrong direction IMHO due to alot of citizens will not be responsible about this issue.

Besides who is going to pay for the additional Animal Control Officers to help enforce these ordinance changes?

Who is going to pay their salaries?

Who is going to buy all of their equipment?

Ya you the tax payer will get stuck with all of that cost.

Do you honestly think our present Animal Control Officers want even more work than they have now?

If you want to raise barn yard animals then move into the county areas like sensible people do.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro July 31, 2009 | 4:27 p.m.

On a sale day you can buy a 10lb bag of chicken thigh/leg quarters at some grocers for $4.59. I say, "Horse Feathers" to those who want a hen house in the city. Unless you have a thing for live chickens...
http://www.theonion.com/content/radio_ne....

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 1, 2009 | 2:59 a.m.

"The Missourian article reports that the city has only received one complaint in the past eight years since the ordinance allowing chickens was passed."

Chuck wrote:

"Do you honestly think our present Animal Control Officers want even more work than they have now?"

Notwithstanding the article doesn't mention which city, it doesn't sound like allowing chickens in that city has generated a lot of animal complaints. It doesn't sound like we would need to hire additional animal control people or get any more equipment, or that the present people would see an increase in their workload.

Compliance and responsibility is a non-issue. Let's try it. If people complain, then change it back. We have nothing to lose.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 5:21 a.m.

>> Compliance and responsibility is a non-issue. <<<

No you tree hugging dipstick it is the issue!

If you have pseudo barn yard operations going on in the city limits going on with watering trays and such being open to mosquitoes,gnats and flies you open your neighbors up to the potentiality of the West Nile Virus or have you forgot the Health Department's warnings about any and all standing water during the year outside?

I fight this same sitting water issue everyday with an idiot who insists on leaving buckets of water all over for his squirrels and there are often times dead mosquitoes, gnats and flies in the watering buckets and more breedinmg all around.

I also have to deal with this from another person who thinks Gold Fish in their garden are so cute and there is the same issue of mosquitoes,gnats and flies.

Both said idiots have been asked numerous times not do do these things to no avail so everybody who uses those areas takes the risk of potentially being bit by mosquitoes,gnats and flies and contacting West Nile.

Think farther outside of the test tube Mark that off the point of your dam nose.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 1, 2009 | 9:58 a.m.

Chuck, people have bowls of water for their dogs, they have kiddie pools, birdbaths, and all other manner of both intentional and accidental catchments now anyway. I'd imagine more mosquitoes breed in Flat Branch creek than breed in all the man-made pools of water around there. There's all sorts of places for them to breed now, and adding or subtracting a few isn't going to make a lot of difference.

West Nile is not a major public health problem, either.

Last I read, the urban hen petition had about 130 signatures, and I believe they wanted to get 400. Say each signature represents a household of 3 people, so that's 1200 people or 1.2% of Columbia's population. Say half of those households get chickens - that's 200 households out of roughly 35,000. That's 1 house in 175, or one house per four 1/4 mile long, Alexander/McBaine/Sanford type streets.

Please don't tell me that having one house with chickens (or even several) in 175 is going to affect the quality of life of anyone (other than the people that own them, who will get fresh eggs, fertilizer, and meat). It will not measurably add to any mosquito problem. It's about 0.6% of all households in the city.

Again, whether a few people have chickens or not doesn't affect you in the least. Don't worry about it. The occasional household with too many chickens, or poor sanitation or living conditions, can be dealt with like they deal with any other animal violations.

Sorry. I shouldn't do this. Peace, Chuck.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 11:40 a.m.

>>> West Nile is not a major public health problem, either. <<<

Right dipstick it only kills people every year.

You still did not answer who is going to pay for the Animal Control Officers who will have to be hired to enforce the ordinances.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 11:41 a.m.

This should really go as a City Ballot Measure and not left to City Council either. Let all Citizens vote about this come Voting Time not just a few.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 1, 2009 | 12:21 p.m.

("Do you think raising chickens in urban environments is a step forward...")

We can't even raise our children right.
How we gonna' raise chickens?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 1, 2009 | 12:40 p.m.

Chuck, cut it with the dipstick posts or I hope the Missourian wipes your posts clean. You can disagree with Mark without being a jerk. Maybe.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm guessing showers killed more people last year than West Nile. Shoot, probably more people died in showers last year than reported West Nile infections to the health department here. Want to outlaw showers as well?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 1:09 p.m.

John Schultz show me some stats proving your conjectures about showers vs West Nile.

We hear in the news every year about West Nile killing people and we also hear every year from the Missouri Health Department about this issue too. Why doesn't somebody go ask those Animal Control Officers and the Health Department who is going to find the funding for the supervision over this issue?

Mark knows the meaning of the word Dipstick and IMHO he is acting like one in trying to make more excuses for allowing barn yard types of operations inside of Columbia City limits yet still refuses to answer about how in the hell the Animal Control Officers and their time are going to be funded to enforce the ordinances in this issue.

What next a goat in every back yard?

You Liberal Progressive Tree Huggers will be the death of this nation yet.

If you want a mini farm/barn yard type operation then move out to the county. There is tons of land out there for sale where nobody except the County will give a dam what you do. That is what intelligent people do or at least they used too.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 1, 2009 | 2:05 p.m.

("What next a goat in every back yard?")
The way this town is going, they'll be trying to pass an ordinance which requires a hemp plant in every backyard; whether you want one or not.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 3:11 p.m.

ray shapiro the way this town is if you went up in one of those State Patrol Helo's with an infrared camera you might be surprised how much of what you just posted is already true. That stuff in full bloom lights up brighter than a Christmas tree.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 1, 2009 | 3:45 p.m.

Chuck wrote:

"Right dipstick it only kills people every year."

Last year it killed one (and West Nile may have only been a contributory factor). They had 16 reported cases in the whole state, mostly around the big cities.

http://www.dhss.mo.gov/WestNileVirus/Hum...

80% of West Nile infected people show no symptoms at all. Most of the others get flu-like symptoms for a few days.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile...

That's not a major public health issue. John is right - more people likely died bathing than from West Nile.

ray wrote:

"We can't even raise our children right.
How we gonna' raise chickens?"

They're far easier to raise. They only fall prey to dogs, cats, foxes, etc. They don't fall prey to fast livin'.

BTW, guys, hemp is a weed here. They call it "ditchweed", and it's a leftover from when they used to grow it for fiber. Supposedly you can't get high even if you smoke an ounce of it.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 5:58 p.m.

>>> ray wrote: "We can't even raise our children right.
How we gonna' raise chickens?" <<<

>>> Mark Posted: They're far easier to raise. <<<

This goes to show you exactly why Liberal Progressive Tree Huggers are destroying our nation when they care more about Chickens than Children.

Pathetic!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 1, 2009 | 6:17 p.m.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (link at http://www.ukcia.org/research/CausesOfDe...), there were 139,434 injuries in bathtubs and showers in 1991.

Here's another CPSC press release from 1992 stating "CPSC has reports of more than 300 children since 1973 who drowned in bathtubs, basins, showers, and jetted bathtubs

In addition to these household hazards, there are, on the average, 50 drownings a year of young children in large shipping buckets, mostly five gallon size. More than 200 children drowned in these buckets since 1984."

http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtm...

According to http://www.articlehealthandfitness.com/a...

"On average, 370 persons of all ages sustain injuries from bathtub/shower daily in the United States. The dangerous aspect of bathing is evident from the injury data reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission: 117,230 bathtub/shower injuries in 1989; 136,616 in 1990; and 139,434 in 1991.Those between the ages of 25-64 accounted for 37 percent of all bathtub/shower injuries; the most vulnerable being those closer to the upper age limit. The elderly accounted for 17 percent of bathtub/shower injuries in 1989, 22 percent in 1990, and 20 percent in 1991. More elderly people were injured from using bathtub/shower than from other potentially dangerous equipment such as exercise equipment or cooking appliances (ranges or ovens)."

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 1, 2009 | 6:36 p.m.

So what are you Liberal Progressives going to advocate for next showers with harnesses so you will not fall or will it be built in air bags in case you slip and fall or will it be bath tubs with only spray type jets?

Take your Liberal Progressiveness and move to Europe. That area of the world is already screwed up.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 1, 2009 | 9:58 p.m.

Maybe we will legislate that anyone on public assistance gets their showers Rambo-style with a firehose? That non-complacent enough for ya, Chuck? If you want to argue to the extreme, I can do the same.

(Report Comment)
Dan Jordan August 2, 2009 | 12:34 a.m.

Charles,

You are no threat to the system.
Why do you even bother?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 2, 2009 | 3:57 a.m.

"Why do you even bother?"

He's bored.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 2, 2009 | 4:33 a.m.

Dan Jordan it is not about threatening the system but it is about standing up and speaking up for what you truly believe in and if that is so bad then America as a whole is going down the crapper faster than we think.

Why do you feel your Liberal Progressive System is in danger?

John Schultz you are so cutsie when you are emo rage posting. :)

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 2, 2009 | 8:45 a.m.

Chuck wrote:

"You still did not answer who is going to pay for the Animal Control Officers who will have to be hired to enforce the ordinances."

I did above. Another Missouri city that allowed chickens had only one complaint in eight years (from the article). That's not going to require hiring of new personnel or increase the workload of existing Animal Control personnel to any extent.

You need a sense of perspective, Chuck. Even if 1% of all households in Columbia had chickens, that's not enough to measurably change anyone's quality of life.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 2, 2009 | 9:46 a.m.

Chickens? How about a Guernsey cow? I grew up in a city which at the time had a population of about 200,000 and a wealthy man who supposedly had some medical problem kept a milk cow. His property, an entire city block deep and a city block wide, was divided into two plots, one with his house on it and the other an undeveloped pasture. The cow, tended by the person who was his driver and who kept his lawn, was taken out daily during warm weather months and tethered to a spike driven into the ground, allowing the cow to graze in a circle. Each day the location within the pasture was changed.

People actually cut through this pasture on their way to catch a streetcar - being somewhat careful where they stepped! The cow was shy and didn't appreciate being petted.

So far as I'm aware, there were never any complaints against the cow or its owner. But the owner had political clout.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 2, 2009 | 9:57 a.m.

Mark Foecking this is not any other city this is Columbia. As such why do we always have to be the follower of other cities? Why can't we as a city stand on our own?

If you want to make this city like some other city why don't you just move there in the first place?

If you want to run a pseudo farm/barn yard operation in your back yard then move to the country?

What next Community Barn Yards to go along with the Community Gardens?

I can see the headlines now:

Community Barn Yard Operations raided by group of roaming thugs.

Community Gardens raided of Watermelons News at 11.

In both instances these groups of roaming thugs obviously did not have the money to go to Church's Chicken or to the Farmers Market so they decided to run rampant through these Community Projects.

Police are now looking for a trail or pile of Chicken Feathers near local dumpsters in the First Ward area and following the current trail of Watermelon Rinds for blocks around the crime scenes.

This is an ongoing issue because some in our City are afraid of Conceal and Carry Weapons Permits. One little old lady was quoted as saying she is getting her shotgun ready for war in this ongoing issue due to police are at odds of how to deal with these issues. Chain Link installers are picking up more business as they get new contracts for fencing and Concertina Wire.

More details as they become available.

(Report Comment)
Dan Jordan August 2, 2009 | 11:34 p.m.

"Dan Jordan it is not about threatening the system but it is about standing up and speaking up for what you truly believe in and if that is so bad then America as a whole is going down the crapper faster than we think.

Why do you feel your Liberal Progressive System is in danger?"

My system? Dude, if the system were mine, things would be a lot different. Standing up and speaking out is not bad, it's just not enough. Some people have an effect on the decisions made in government. Others don't. Oh well, everyone should have a hobby.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Hansen August 3, 2009 | 8:05 a.m.

Say no to chickens in the city. Take it from someone who has to live with them down here in Austin, TX.

(Report Comment)
Sarah Grant August 4, 2009 | 3:17 p.m.

Ha, that's funny! I lived with chickens in Austin before - personally I fully support being allowed to have a chicken or two in your back-yard. They can make rather entertaining pets, in their own way, and would contribute quite a lot (eggs, fertilizer, weed control) to my household.

I understand the concerns over appearance, noise (... they're chickens. What next, yelling at the birds for singing?) - but in the end, last I checked, this was America and I have the freedom to run my household how I see fit. If that is a positive influence on society is that delicious little choice up to me that makes everyone squirm and wish to slap down more rules to control the possibilities of how I could behave.

However even if my neighbors have garish yards, I don't give a damn as long as they are doing what they want, not doing anything illegal, and not harming anyone.

Because in the end, for God's sake, its a chicken! I'd be more concerned with all the dog-fighting and the loose cannons those are before a freaking... *chicken.*

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 4, 2009 | 7:25 p.m.

Alot of good reading here pro and con:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...

(Report Comment)
D Chambers August 6, 2009 | 11:21 p.m.

Mr. Dudley,

Since you like to name call, I have one that's quite appropriate for you.

Goldfish eat mosquito larvae. So your neighbor who is an "idiot" and insists on having goldfish in his backyard is doing your neighborhood a favor. Dumbass. Yes, you.

And since the discussion is about chickens, the advantage of chickens is that they eat lots of insects. Without spreading toxic chemicals all over the yard. Imagine that.

Cheers,
gardenfanatic

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance August 6, 2009 | 11:33 p.m.

Chuck, Ray, and John are the general experts on everything on these comment sections. They know everything there is to know on everything. Sometimes that all you see is these experts trying to out-expert each other. I think those 3 make it hard for others to post since they would be required to read 4-6 paragraph comments of drivel to respond. Time for some new blood.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 7, 2009 | 12:12 a.m.

@Tim Dance:
("Time for some new blood.")
Go get some.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 7, 2009 | 9:13 a.m.

Tim, I can direct you to another porch if you can't hang with the big dogs. Have a government-approved day!

(Report Comment)

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