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Keeping chickens proposed in Coulee Dam


Chickens got their feathers ruffled at Coulee Dam at the last town council meeting.

The evening started innocently enough as town officials unveiled a proposed ordinance that would allow local residents up to four chickens — only hens, of course; no one wants to wake up in the morning to a rooster crowing.

That brought up a lot of questions from council members and those in the audience, and the chicken ordinance is headed for a public hearing at 6 p.m. July 8, during the regular council meeting on that date.

The big question asked by members of the audience was, who is going to enforce the specifics of the ordinance?

Jan Williams offered a resounding “no!” She said chickens would only attract more predators. Another person said such predators run loose through the tall unattended grass.

One person asked the mayor and council why they thought officers would police chickens when they don’t do anything about people who let their grass grow tall and don’t enforce ordinances that prohibit garbage and a limit on dogs and cats.

And the odor?

The ordinance states that those who have chickens must pass the smell test, and if a person can smell the feathery friends from the property line, that’s a no-no.

Another person asked if people could raise chickens commercially, or sell eggs.

One of the specifics of the ordinance is that a person with chickens must trim one wing. It wasn’t specific as to which wing.

Mayor Greg Wilder explained to the council that several residents in the town had asked about having chickens, and that’s why an ordinance was drawn up. He asked council members to approve the first reading of the ordinance, to no avail.

Councilmember Ken Miles asked that nothing be done on the ordinance until July 8, when it was eventually decided to hold a public hearing so town residents could offer their opinions.

The ordinance provides a number of guidelines for those who someday might take advantage of it, if it passes.

One part of the ordinance is a bit confusing: “Owners have 90 days to remove offspring.” Who smuggled in the rooster?

Coulee Dam residents can cluck away at the chicken ordinance July 8.

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