WVC to consider backyard chickens

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WEST VALLEY CITY -- They don't play catch and you can't count on them to snuggle up with you. But some residents of West Valley City are urging the city council to allow backyard hens in residential areas.

"They were a lot of fun -- they were very calming," Lori Cannon, of West Valley City said of chickens.

Cannon grew up on a farm and enjoyed having chickens.

"They were to lay eggs and we ate the eggs -- we knew where the eggs were coming from, they had no hormones, no chemicals. I think they taste better -- what we couldn't eat we gave to our neighbors," Cannon said.

But for the 18 years she's lived in West Valley City, she hasn't been allowed to have hens because she doesn't live in an agricultural area.

"I miss them, I miss them. I wish we could have them again," Cannon said.

For the third time in 5 years the WVC Council will consider an ordinance that would define female chickens as household pets and allow four per residence.

Chickens are not like having a dog or cat, said Layne Morris, director of the Community Preservation Department.

“Chickens really have some significant maintenance requirement to keep them from becoming a neighborhood nuisance,” Morris said.

In past city council meetings, concerned residents say the barnyard animals might make the city look bad and because of the lack of city power to control the ordinance things might get out of hand.

"Purely from an enforcement perspective we already deal with a significant number of phone calls -- people complaining about dogs and cats and we'd be adding chickens to that list," Morris said.

Last month the planning commission voted against the proposal, saying the noise and smell from the chickens would be a problem.

But Cannon said if the coop is cared for properly they wouldn't even know someone had chickens.

"Maybe they've never had chickens -- they're not that bad," Cannon said.

Several surrounding cities allow backyard chickens. Springville just passed a regulation and Murray will decide next month if they will allow hens in backyards.

Next City Council meeting will take place Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at West Valley City Hall, located at 3600 Constitution Blvd.

5 comments

  • davidmpark

    Legalize urban rabbits! Low odor; no noise; eats grass, garden waste, and weeds; leaves great low-odor fertilizer; prolific and nutritious.

  • davidmpark

    I’ve been fighting WVC for 2 years on this. This is not about legalizing a pet: this is about providing the poor and afflicted a sustainable food source of their own. This is about charity and the dignity of self-reliance. I’ve been pushing for meat rabbits, hens, and possibly pygmy milk goats for our impoverished citizens to supplement their meager means. More food produced at home translates to more income through saving; freeing more money that can be used in the local economy and to provide a better life.

    • Bryant Larsen

      I own a small flock of 9 chickens and speaking from experience can say that they are not for the poorest among us. They are expensive to feed and to care for properly. When we added up what it actually cost us to produce the very first egg, it was about $1,000. WIre fencing, feed containers, heat lamps, coup, straw, feed, scratch, etc.. It adds up quickly.

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