Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Keep your hens, Hailey leaders say

Sunset clause for city chickens repealed

Express Staff Writer

Few feathers were ruffled during a yearlong test of an ordinance allowing hens to be raised in Hailey, and the birds have been granted permanent status. Roosters, however, are still out.

The rules governing chickens were set to expire June 9 under a sunset clause. The clause allowed the city to repeal the ordinance allowing chickens in town after a year of monitoring for complaints.

"We had two complaints," said Hailey Planning Director Beth Robrahn at a City Council meeting Monday. Robrahn recommended that the council make the ordinance permanent.

Mayor Rick Davis said that during the year he received no complaints and felt that having chickens at people's homes was educational for kids. More than a few Hailey residents have benefited from the test by receiving free eggs from neighbors' locally raised hens, Davis and others said.

The two complaints Robrahn cited were about an illegal rooster crowing and a family with more than the three hens allowed by the ordinance. The family was sent a letter by the city about the violation and the rooster has apparently been moved away.

"I was one of the ones who had the biggest problem with it and I am pleasantly surprised," said City Councilman Fritz Haemmerle, who added that he supports making hens a permanent part of the code.

The council unanimously approved the new ordinance that allows three chickens per household in perpetuity.

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