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Eagan For Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Living Backyard Chickens as Pets!

This petition made change with 140 supporters!


We respectfully request that City Council amend the city code to permit backyard chickens in Eagan and residents be allowed up to 6 hens in a clean, safe, and sanitary environment.  

We would like to dispel the myths associated with backyard chickens and show that there is no valid argument for banning responsible residential ownership and educate people in the tremendous personal and environmental benefits to raising them.

“Chickens suffer from a PR problem.  People think they are dirty, noisy and smelly. The truth, a few cared for hens are cleaner and quieter than one big dog or the three neighborhood cats that poop in the flower bed.  Plus you get eggs……”

~The Wall Street Journal

 

NoiseFact - Roosters are not required for hens to lay eggs-and are not being requested as part of this petition.  Several laying hens make less noise than a normal human conversation; and far less noise than a dog, yowling cat, lawnmower or snow blower.

SmellFact – Chickens themselves do not smell. It is only their pooh that smells which is no different than that of a dog, cat, or rabbit.  An average dog produces approximately 12 ounces of solid waste a day.  An average chicken produces only about 10% of that at 1.5 ounces.

            Fact – Chicken manure is excellent fertilizer and compost material.  Dog manure is not compostable due to harmful bacteria that can infect humans.  Dog waste is considered a major source of bacterial pollution in urban watersheds, while chicken waste is an environmental bonus.

            Fact – Most people immediately think of chicken farms and their odors.  This is not the same as with backyard chickens.  It requires hundreds or thousands of chickens kept in unsanitary conditions to produce the ammonia most people  associate with chickens.  A backyard chicken coop with 6 or less chickens will not create the odor issue that concerns most people.

Rodents and predatorsFact – Rodents and predators already exist in Eagan.  They are attracted to ANY unprotected food source such as bird seed, dog, cat and rabbit food, open trash cans, fruit trees and even ponds containing koi.  There are plenty of preventative measures readily available to eliminate concern with chicken feed as there are for bird seed and dog food. Additionally, wild turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks run wild in Eagan without an increase in coyote population--and at sundown, chickens go into their coops to sleep.   

Health HazardFact – According to the CDC the H5N1 virus (Avian Flu) does not usually infect people... Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses have NEVER been detected among wild birds, domestic poultry, or people in the United States.  Source: www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/  And, research shows that there are more diseases that can spread from dogs and cats than from chickens. 

Backyard Chickens and Sustainability

1.       Better food source for eggs.  While the nutritional superiority of organic and homegrown eggs vs. conventional store-bought eggs may be debatable, it is certainly true that any harmful affects of   antibiotics, hormones, or other chemical additives would be avoided with homegrown eggs.   

2.       Compost fertilizer. Chicken manure is a sought after fertilizer. When chickens are allowed to visit a compost pile, they will perform needed labor: toss the compost  pile, shred leaves, and remove unwanted grubs or maggots.

3.       Organic waste consumption (bio-recycling).  Backyard chickens love eating scraps from the kitchen.  This reduces our landfill waste and becomes valuable fertilizer for better plants, grass and gardens.

4.       Organic insect and weed control (no dangerous pesticides and herbicides!).   If chickens are allowed to roam a small backyard lawn even for a short period, they can perform the useful tasks of weed and insect removal. Similarly, chickens spending a short time in the yard will help rid it of many unwanted insects and grubs. Mosquitoes have reduced chance in shallow water exposed to chickens since the birds will feast on the insects in addition to disturbing the larvae.

5.       Low impact pet  Contrary to their commercially raised counterparts, backyard chickens are a decidedly easy to care for “low impact” pet with sweet, funny, gentle personalities!  A two-gallon water supply will last almost a week in average weather (for a flock of six), and chicken feed is, well, as cheap as chicken feed. Typically these are the only resources required once an adequate coop is built.

6.       Flock role in a backyard ecosystem  Backyard chickens can be part of a larger backyard ecosystem not only in their feeding, grazing, and waste recycling roles, but also by being a component in a symbiotic relationship with other pets, namely dogs.  All herding dogs and many other mixed breed dogs gain great pleasure and purpose in watching over backyard chickens, whether they are in the coop or out on the occasional graze.“Guarding” the flock can be perceived as a job and for the herding dog and can distract the hyperactive herding dog from other annoying behaviors.

 

Much of the above information including documentation was taken from and can be found in the following report: http://jkheneghan.com/city/meetings/2010/Feb/02092010_Planning_Backyard%20Chicken%20Keeping%20-%20Myths%20and%20Facts.pdf 

 



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