Letter: Chickens should be allowed in city

Chickens should be allowed in city

From: Michelle Clementz


When taken care of properly, backyard chickens earn their keep. They provide fertilizer and aerate lawns. Their eggs are fresh and have more nutrients than store-bought eggs. Eggs from backyard chickens are lower in cholesterol and saturated fat. They have higher levels of beta carotene; they also have higher levels of vitamins A, D and E. The yolks are a richer color of yellow because of the varied diet which consists of anything from flowers, insects to table scraps. I have kept chickens in the city limits for two years and see the benefits of keeping chickens on a daily basis.

This city takes great pride in its farmers markets, its 4-H programs, its numerous city parks and its programs aimed at maintaining healthy living. Why does the city want to push chickens out of the city limits as if they are an eyesore, an annoyance or public health hazard — when keeping chickens clearly has so many benefits?

The cities of Phoenix, Indianapolis and Raleigh, North Carolina, have events called “Tour de Coops.” These events combine touring gardens and city chicken coops to learn more about keeping backyard chickens and gardening in an urban city. Urban backyard chicken keeping is celebrated. Imagine if Columbus did this; the “Unexpected. Unforgettable.” motto would definitely ring true. An event like this could entwine Columbus history and exhibit its commitment to healthy living. It could showcase a promise to remain the progressive community that J. Irwin Miller dreamed Columbus could be.

If enough people in Columbus kept chickens, the trash cans would not be as full with food waste.

The smell from chicken coops can be reduced when tended to on a daily basis, and anti-crowing collars can be purchased for roosters. This leaves the aesthetic issue of having a coop in the backyard — and I ask the council: have they surveyed the opinion of every person in town? Maybe we should put this up for a vote in the next election to better get a representation of Columbus opinion.

Why are backyard chickens still on the council’s agenda? If the term “farm animal” is making the council uneasy, I ask the council to think about two other animals that are found on farms which are legal in Columbus: cats and dogs. Just like chickens, these animals can be messy, noisy and can pass germs or disease. The signs along the People Trail asking owners to clean up animal waste to prevent passage of disease are a reminder of this. Just because an animal is found on a farm does not mean that is the only place it is supposed to live.

I ask the city council to vote to keep chickens legal within the city of Columbus. I also encourage city residents to attend the meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to learn more about this issue as city council members discuss it.