People continue to say bad things about chickens

Janesville continues to be scared of chickens. According to Gazettextra, the Plan Commission was willing to discuss chickens, but tabled a vote. The good news is that only one member was absolutely opposed to hens in town. A positive recommendation from the plan commission would be an improvement over the City Council rejection of a backyard chicken ordinance five years ago.

The proposal would allow people living in a single-family residence to construct a chicken coop or run in a backyard area to house up to six hens. There would be a $50 application fee and an annual license charge of $10 per chicken. That’s steep! Another of those sneaky requirements that seems to allow chickens, while making them impractically expensive for many people.

The plan commission was raised questions about the number of chickens allowed, an exit strategy for owners who want to get rid of them, how to provide education for prospective chicken owners, conflict with deed restrictions, city staff becoming overburdened with enforcement; and whether chickens belonged in cities.

Municipalities near Janesville that allow urban chickens includ Madison, Stoughton, Delavan, Whitewater, Darien, Jefferson, Fort Atkinson and Cambridge. A study by the city of Janesville found that six peer cities also allow them: Beloit, Green Bay, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Racine and Wauwatosa.

You can follow the chickens’ progress in Janesville here: href="">

Pewaukee is also talking chicken. The plan commission recently discussed amending the village's zoning code to allow chickens on residential properties.

According to a story in Lake Country Now, Village Planner Mary Censky said the town and city of Delafield, Hartland and the town of Waukesha have changed their laws to allow chicken-keeping in residentially zoned areas.The town of Mukwonago recently enacted an ordinance to permit backyard chickens on residential lots smaller than 3 acres.

Meanwhile, adamant arguments from the Waukegan animal control officer proved that it only takes one person with strong opinions to kill any chance of a chicken ordinance. The Chicago Tribune reported that animal warden Susan Elliott warned the City Council, "I won't be able to control something like this." She listed noise, predatory animals and the potential for neglect among the reasons for her opposition.

"People can say that they don't make a lot of noise — they make a lot of noise. And you don't have to have a rooster for those things to cluck really loud," said Elliott, adding that she was also worried about potential winter-related issues.