Sue Braaten 0

Legalize chickens in Lakeville, MN

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Green practices sweep the nation and our individual communities, yet we have found that there is at least one useful practice that is not allowed in Lakeville, backyard chicken keeping. Backyard chicken keeping is not permitted for residentially zoned properties in Lakeville (City Code 11-35-3), even though it is allowed in surrounding cities, including Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington and Rosemount. We believe that allowing backyard chickens in Lakeville will promote individual sustainability practices and public welfare while improving the quality of life, and health of the citizens in our city.

We, the undersigned citizens of Lakeville, request that the ordinance(s) of Lakeville be amended to allow the keeping of backyard chickens in residential zones within the city. We make this request because we sincerely believe that backyard chicken keeping will be beneficial to the citizenry of the city in the following ways:
1. Chickens eat insects and weeds and also act to till garden areas while providing a natural fertilizer in the form of organic manure.
2. Chicken manure is an age-old organic fertilizer that is very cost effective for those keeping small backyard flocks.
3. In addition, citizens concerned about healthful foods know that nothing toxic or harmful was fed to their personal poultry and that the manure is safe for their gardens.
4. The keeping of backyard chickens can reduce local use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers and the associated pollution from such products in storm water run-off.
5. Chickens provide a sustainable food source (daily eggs) that can be more flavorful and nutritious than those produced in a commercial eggery.
6. Chickens are natural recyclers. Being omnivores, they can eat table scraps as well as insects and weeds and turn out both food and fertilizer.
7. In the event of a emergency many areas could see significantly reduced supplies of food, water and fuel for city residents could be interrupted. As a prudent practice, it behooves city residents to be as independent as possible with respect to food supplies. Growing a garden, preserving one’s own food and having a good source of protein (eggs) would enhance the personal sustainability of Lakeville residents, and would therefore enhance the security of our community in the event of a natural disaster.
8. Backyard chickens are outstanding pets. They are easy to care for. They provide educational opportunities to teach children where food comes from and how to be responsible pet owners. Watching chickens and their relationships among one another is very entertaining.

As with any request for an ordinance change, questions regarding the health, safety, and welfare of the citizenry must be addressed. Listed below are the most common concerns brought up when discussing backyard chickens in Lakeville:
1. Noise—Contrary to popular belief, most chickens are not loud. Being social animals, they like to “talk” to one another. Hens usually cackle at a volume of 20-40 decibels, which is about the same volume as conversational human speech. Roosters would not be allowed in residential areas.
2. Smell—Chickens are not inherently unsanitary or smelly animals. In fact they like to be clean. Like any animal, their habitat can become soiled if not properly maintained or if they are confined to too small a space. We recommend at least 2 square feet of floor space per bird. A normal backyard flock would not produce any more waste than any other similar sized pet.
3. Disease—Properly housed and cared for, Chickens do not pose any greater threat to human health than any other animal. Of course, poultry are no different from other birds kept in a home setting; one should follow standards of good hygiene practice.

We acknowledge your need for careful consideration of this matter, and trust that your examination will find multiple benefits for the citizens of Lakeville. We respectfully request your favorable action to amend city ordinances to provide for the keeping of backyard chickens in residential zones.

Sincerely, The Undersigned

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