The City of Wayzata will discuss changing city code to allow the keeping of chickens on residential lots at a May 4th Council Workshop.

According to the agenda, the “topic has been brought up several times over the past year and most recently, the Council directed staff to do some due diligence and come back with some more info at a Council Meeting.”

Section 930.01.C of the Wayzata City Code states that farm animals are not allowed within the City.

There are four options being presented for discussion at the workshop ranging from continuing to prohibit chickens to heavily regulating the raising of chickens.

According to One Acre Farm, (OurOneAcreFarm.com) the pros of backyard chickens are as follows:

  • Animal welfare meaning eggs do not come from a mega operation where the chickens are unhappy and caged
  • Improved nutrition for the end user as the chickens are typically fed a wider range of feed
  • Environmental health as backyard chickens can be considered an extremely local food source and their waste can be utilized for fertilizer
  • Public Health as raising chickens is a way to produce foods without antibiotics
  • Reduced risk of Salmonella because there is less likely to be an infection outside a cage
  • Entertainment if you enjoy watching birds
  • Education if you aspire to be a farmer or work with animals.

The cons of allowing chickens in backyard environments are as follows:

  • Buying or building a coop requires time, treasure and planning
  • Smelly droppings from chickens that poop often and indiscriminately. It smells bad and can be tracked into the house and run into the neighbors yard in a rain event
  • Noise hens and roosters are noisy and can bother your neighbors
  • Rodents are attracted to chicken coops and chicken feed
  • Daily maintenance is required to collect eggs, wash and refill water founts, scoop up poop, rake the litter around to discourage rodents
  • Seasonal maintenance is required as the entire coop should be cleaned out and litter replaced regularly
  • Chickens create a lot of dust by scratching around in the ground and litter
  • Predators including but not limited to snakes and foxes will approach chicken coops attempting to eat the eggs, the chickens, or both
  • Behavior problems in chickens can occur as they are complicated social creatures. Bullying or feather picking can and odes occur
  • Ailing chickens can be problematic as they are vulnerable to all kinds of diseases requiring veterinary care
  • Old hen egg production can decline after a handful of years and leave an unproductive chicken with many years left.

Stay tuned to Wayzata.com, your chicken debate leader.