Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Forestville: hens may stay within village limits

The chickens can legally come home to roost in Forestville — with a conditional use permit — as the result of the Village Board approval on Monday of an ordinance that covers keeping the fowl in the community.

Before the board action, raising chickens and all other livestock in the village was against the law, with violators potentially facing fines on a daily basis.

Three residents who were known to village officials to have chickens on their properties were sent letters last October advising them of the ordinance violations.

Two of the three — Lori Jorgensen and Carol Krueger — appeared at the board's November meeting to disagree.

Both said they interpreted the existing ordinance as prohibiting only animals that made noise, such as cows. Their chickens don't create a disturbance, they said, because they only keep hens, not crowing roosters.

"Hens do not make noise," Krueger said in November. The sound from her hens is
"about the same level as human conversation," she said.

Both said they keep the birds for their egg production. Their chickens are kept in pens and they use the chicken's manure as fertilizer for their gardens, the women said.

The new ordinance would require both women to cull their flocks, since it allows keeping no more than six chickens on a single property. Jorgensen said in November she has 12 birds, and Krueger said she has eight.

Village President Terry McNulty promised the women the board would create an ordinance to allow their husbandry to continue.

As enacted, keeping other livestock is still not legal in the village, and people raising chickens need to have a minimum of one quarter-acre of land to obtain conditional use approval.

To obtain the permit, would-be chicken owners would be required to submit a sketched plan of their property, indicating the location of the animals' shelter and proper

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