Chickens are no longer just for those in the country. Many communities across the country allow chickens, with restrictions, inside the city limits.
The item was brought to the attention of the El Dorado City Commission on Monday and staff is now looking into the request.
The issue arose when one day last month El Dorado resident Jonnetta Miller’s husband called her and told her there was a chicken out by the toll booth of the south turnpike exit and he was afraid it would get run over. She went out and got it and then went door to door out in the Village to see if it belonged to anyone. While no one claimed it, several commented they would like to have chickens. She called City Manager Herb Llewellyn about this.
“I thought you needed to hear this story and know there is discussion in our community about the desire to have chickens,” Llewellyn said. “I think you can have chickens in town compatibly.”
He said a lot of neighboring towns allow chickens.
“Fifty years ago there weren’t even regulations about poultry or livestock in town, then the pendulum swung over and cities decided to change that and banned all of them,” Llewellyn said. “I think we see that pendulum coming back toward the center.”
He did say there was a responsibility on the part of the owners so as not to negatively impact neighbors.
Llewellyn suggested they see what other communities are doing and bring it back to the commission.
Commissioner David Chapin said he watched a few news clips on chickens. He found it is happening all across the United States and Canada.
“In most of the world it’s normal to have chickens in your backyard,” he said.
Manure was one problem he found to exist.
“I think to look at other towns to see what they are doing on how to go about this would be the start,” Chapin said.
He also wanted to hear what the public thought about it.
“With the new green lifestyle that we’re living, a fresh egg getting popped out every day to get cooked is not a bad thing,” he said. “I would be in favor of looking into it and keep it reasonable. I don’t want to have a Tyson’s in every back yard.”
Commissioner Bill Young also said he had quite a few people bring this up to him over the years.
“I’m a big fan of farm fresh eggs,” Young said. “I agree we need to know what we are getting into and give people the opportunity to have the chickens and raise chickens.”
Page 2 of 2 - He too wanted to see what other communities were doing.
Mayor Mike Fagg said in Wichita people are allowed to have three hens without a permit and up to 12 with a $25 permit.
Chapin also pointed out most laying hens don’t need a rooster. He thought one of the main attractions of roosters is the fighting, so that was an area he wanted to stay away from.
Llewellyn said they will continue gathering information on it.
“I think it is more common for cities to allow it than to not,” he said. “Augusta is the only city I heard of around here that prohibits them.”