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Prairie du Sac to decide on chicken coops

By Dannika Lewis,
Published On: Aug 10 2013 09:56:14 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 10 2013 10:02:05 AM CDT
urban chicken hen city farm


Christina Klock has kept her chickens in their very own "Chick Condo” for a year now. The four birds have rein of the backyard on Whitney Way.

"I thought how nice would it be to sit on the patio and watch my chickens walk around eating the bugs out of the garden and eating fresh eggs,” Klock said. "Thought it would be a great thing to try."

Before Klock put in her pen, she checked with her neighbors to make sure they were on board with the idea. Plus, Klock said they get to partake in the perks of her owning her own chickens.

"My neighbors are awesome. And I give them free eggs. Win-win!" Klock said.

People living in Prairie du Sac might soon be able to raise their own backyard hens too, but the ordinance proposal would require neighbor approval.

Prairie du Sac village board trustee Andrew Strathman said hopeful chicken owners would be limited to four chickens per household and no roosters would be allowed. Coop materials would have to be approved by the village, and at least half of neighbors bordering the property would have to sign off on the animals moving in.

Strathman said the more restrictive rules will be better for the ordinance in the long run.

"You want to make sure you have restrictions in place because you don't want other people to ruin what you've got going on here,” Strathman said. "The point is not to grow chickens and do whatever you want with them. The point is you want to grow chickens and have your own eggs."

Strathman said he has concerns about abandoned chickens and how area animal shelters would handle the birds if people decided they didn’t want them or couldn’t raise them. Strathman said other trustees are concerned this will allow for more animals to be approved in the future.

"The fear of opening the door to other farm animals, I don't think that's really a concern," Strathman said.

Strathman added that any ordinance that is passed could still be repealed if it didn’t work out as planned.

"Let's see how it goes, and let's not freak out about it because of the unknown," Strathman said. "If it doesn't work, we can do something else."

Strathman was not sure the ordinance has enough support to be passed by the village board at its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Madison and Stoughton have similar ordinances, but don’t require neighbor approval. Both cities limit the number of animals to four hens and do not allow roosters.

Madison issued 183 chicken permits this year. The city charges a $10 annual license fee, and the zoning administrator can revoke a license if a chicken owner has three or more violations within a six-month period.

Stoughton issued 25 permits this year, and has a similar annual fee of $15 per household.

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