Fort Collins Considers Allowing Backyard Chickens

Proposed Ordinance Has Ruffled Feathers

On his farm outside Fort Collins, Andrew Bohn gathers fresh eggs every day, so he can understand why some city slickers are crying fowl.

“It’s a joy to just watch them do their thing,” said Bohn. “And their eggs are far superior to anything in the grocery store.”

A movement to allow chickens as pets in Fort Collins is gaining ground.

Dan Brown, a Fort Collins resident and chicken advocate, has been crowing for an ordinance that would allow backyard birds, arguing that the hens eat pests, weeds and scraps that can’t be composted.

“I also think it’s an important part of teaching your children that food doesn’t come from a box in the store,” said Brown.

He pointed to cities such as Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Madison, Wis., that have similar ordinances.

In Colorado, Loveland and Boulder also allow chickens in city limits.

Not everyone wants Chicken Little next door, though.

”They are opposed to it primarily because they believe it’s incompatible,” said Ted Shepard, Fort Collins’ chief planner. ”A concern was raised by the Planning and Zoning Board. What’s next? Pygmy goats? Where do you draw the line?”

The Planning and Zoning Board passed the measure 5-2, though, and Tuesday night, the city council will vote after the first reading.

There would be some restrictions to deal with noise and smells.

Families would be allowed no more than six hens and no roosters.

The animals would have to be in a solid enclosure at least 15 feet from property lines.

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