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West Bend official proposes chicken ordinance

By RALPH CHAPOCO 262-306-5095

West Bend residents may soon be permitted to keep animals previously banned within city limits if one individual can persuade enough of his colleagues to agree with him.

Alderman Chris Jenkins announced via a news release he is proposing an ordinance to modify the municipal code and allow people to maintain up to four chickens on their property. The Common Council will discuss the proposal at Monday’s meeting.

“It was actually a Facebook post on West Bend & Area Buy, Sell, Trade where somebody wrote, ‘I would really like to have chickens in the city,’ and then tons of people commented on it,” Jenkins said. “I said, ‘Hey, this is an issue I would love to get behind.’ Personally, I believe in property rights. You can have a chicken on your property if you want to.”

According to the proposed ordinance, individuals who wish to keep chickens must pay for and possess the necessary license, and must keep the areaclean, sanitary, and free from odors and vermin.

The ordinance also limits permission to those living in single-family dwellings and owner-occupied duplexes. It states roosters are not permitted at any time and slaughtering animals is not allowed.

The chickens must be kept in a waterproof, rodent-proof and predatorproof enclosure in a fencedin area. They cannot be placed in the front yard and have a side and rear yard setback of at least 5 feet. Residents are also not allowed to place the enclosure within 25 feet of any residential structure on an adjacent lot.

He added the measure would increase self-reliance, allowing people to harvest eggs as a food source. Laura House is one city resident who favors the ordinance.

“Absolutely, I am in favor of it,” she said. “I have always been one to believe in self-sustainability. We grow our own garden here in our backyard. I do a lot of canning and food preservation, and things that help us not to rely on grocery stores or big agricultural farms. I would rather do local and do what we can here at home, and I think having our own backyard chickens would be a great addition to that.”

Please see CHICKENS/


Chickens: Based on research from other municipalities

House said it will allow her to be more independent as someone who uses eggs for a variety of meals.

“We use easily a dozen to a dozen-and-a-half a week,” she said. “That goes for things like feeding my family eggs for breakfast in the morning or I do a lot of baking and scratch cooking. I make my own breads and things like that I would use the eggs for.”

West Bend would not be the first municipality to allow chickens within its boundary. Jenkins said he, Mayor Kraig Sadownikow, Administrator Jay Shambeau and Attorney Ian Prust based the proposed ordinance from research ofmunicipal codes from other areas.

Richfield permits property owners to maintain chickens on their property to certain conditions. They are limited to areas that are at least 4 acres unless zoned as agricultural. The regulation limits residents to five poultry per whole net acre.

“The people that have and keep chickens, we hear from time to time about them getting loose, wandering into the road, or things like that, but I would say those are relatively isolated incidents,” Administrator Jim Healy said. “It is not something we have on our radar on a routine basis.”

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