Littleton residents have apparently discovered that the answer to the age-old debate – “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” – is the …
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Littleton residents have apparently discovered that the answer to the age-old debate – “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” – is the chicken, and they’d like to be able to have more of them.
City Council passed an ordinance in 2010 that declassified chickens as pets, which are limited to three per home, and allowed families in residential neighborhoods to have up to four hens. CouncilwomanPeggy Colerecently asked staff to draft an ordinance upping the number to six.
“Staff has also received inquiries requesting additional chickens for the purpose of increasing the number of eggs produced to more adequately feed a family,” reads a council communication to the planning commission, which heard the proposal March 26.
Stacia Martin was happy to hear the news. Her four chickens each lay an egg a day – not quite enough for her family of five.
“We get fresh eggs every day,” she said. “Sometimes they’re still warm when we go get them.”
Martin said because hens only lay well for a couple of years, having six will allow her to replace two of them every year and still get four eggs a day. Because roosters aren’t allowed in city limits, the only practicable way to get new ones is to buy them; they generally only cost a couple dollars apiece.
A dilemma is what to do with the retired chickens, because they can live up to 10 years. Some people euthanize them, said Martin.
“But that would be sad, because they’re cute,” she said. “They’re a fun thing in the back yard, and they fertilize the garden. They’re kind of like pets. They get excited to see us, and we’ve trained them to come when we call.”
The neighbors have been so enchanted with Martin’s chickens that some are setting up their own coops. She said nobody has ever complained about them.
In fact, said Community Development Director Glen Van Nimwegen, the city has heard very few complaints about odor or noise since the original ordinance passed.
Commissioner Dave Metcalf expressed concerns about the balance of protecting some property owners vs. benefiting f others, and said setting any limit is arbitrary to some extent.
“We could play this game all day long,” he said.
The commission voted four to three in favor of recommending that council approve the ordinance. Council will hold public hearings on the matter when it comes before them.
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