Pottawattamie County leaders are seeing resurgences in organic farming and smaller farms as more local residents now have chickens in their homes

POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa — The authorities of Pottawattamie County have noticed a rise in the number of organic farms and smaller farms in the county.

Pottawattamie County Planning and Development Director Matt Wyant has received inquiries from a number of local homeowners over the course of the previous five years on the possibility of keeping hens in their yards and homes.

Because of this, he suggested the creation of a “urban chicken ordinance.” People who live on less than an acre of pasture and other land are eligible for this. With the proper authorization, they would be able to keep up to 12 chickens.

The caveat is that all of the neighbors have to put their names on the application for the permit, and it does not allow roosters.

Wyant stated that a few of them enjoy keeping hens as pets in their homes. “There are some beautiful decorative chickens out there, others want to obtain the eggs, and others raise them for the slaughtering possibilities of it,” the speaker said. “There are some quite decorative chickens out there.”

Beka Doolittle is the perfect person to ask about the advantages of keeping hens in the backyard. She has been living in Elkhorn for about six years and has been successful in persuading her husband to construct a chicken coop. She states that the decision to get hens was the “greatest thing” that her family could have done.

According to Doolittle, “They eat all the bugs, and as a result, we actually do not have a major pest problem in our backyard at all.”

Additionally, they are able to use the chickens’ bedding as compost for the garden during the months of fall and winter.

However, the leader of the county, Justin Schultz, is not particularly enthusiastic about the proposal.

During his 7.5 years as a supervisor, Schultz remarked, “I never in my tenure as supervisor expected I’d be dealing with chickens as often as I am.”

One of the most significant problems that Schultz sees with it is that inspectors would need to make sure that the coops are constructed appropriately and that all laws are adhered to.

“As a supervisor, I also represent the individuals who believe the local government should remain out of their business,” Schultz said. “There are a lot of people who feel the local government should stay out of their business.”

However, according to Doolittle, a healthy flock shouldn’t have too many feathers ruffled.

Doolittle was quoted as saying, “If somebody wants to go into chickens, do it; just do it right and in regard to your neighbors; I believe that’s extremely essential.”

This Thursday, the Board of Supervisors gave its blessing to continue pushing through with the ordinance. They are going to give it more thought the following week. Applying for a permit will also need payment, and the amount of that payment will be decided at the upcoming board meeting.

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