Backyard Farming Regulatory Issues

Des Moines Register writer MacKenzie Elmer reported recently that, “Des Moines leaders on Monday will consider a ban on keeping roosters within the city limits.

“Sgt. Jim Butler, the city’s animal control officer, said the crowing birds are causing ‘a big problem’ for Des Moines neighbors. But residents with backyard hen houses say roosters provide necessary protection for their urban flocks.

“Des Moines animal control officers responded to 79 rooster-specific calls between August and December last year. Barking dogs were the only animals that generated more noise complaints, Butler said.”

The Register article noted that, “Banning roosters would ‘free an enormous amount of time (our officers) spend going on rooster calls,’ [Butler] said.

“Tanya Keith, an urban chicken farmer who lives in the River Bend neighborhood, says roosters serve as a ‘natural security system.'”

Ms. Elmer added that, “Back in October, the city council discussed cutting the number of legal fowl per property from 30 to 15 and banning roosters. Those plans were met with push back from urban farmers and the proposed changes never made it to council vote.

“The changes being considered Monday would keep the 30-fowl limit in tact, but it does suggest other restrictions.

“It would require property owners to keep shelters, pens, coops and cages a minimum of 25 feet from other residential and commercial buildings. Owners would be required to keep coops in a ‘sanitary condition’ to ‘prevent odors perceptible at the property boundaries.'”

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