Make Backyard Hens Legal in Milwaukee

 We are requesting that the common council add or amend an ordinance that will allow residents to keep up to four backyard hens.

1. The keeping of chickens in the city supports a local, sustainable food system by providing an affordable, nutritious source of protein through fresh eggs.
2. The keeping of chickens also provides free, quality, nitrogen-rich fertilizer; chemical-free pest control; animal companionship and pleasure; weed control; and less noise, mess and expense than dogs and cats. The purpose of this petition is to provide support for standards for the keeping of domesticated chickens. It is intended to enable residents to keep a small number of female chickens on a non-commercial basis while limiting the potential adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

 Permit Required.
An annual permit is required for the keeping of any domesticated chickens in the City of Milwaukee. Permits are not granted without the completion of a certification class in chicken keeping from a Master Chicken Keeper to ensure safety and responsibility of the animals and the neighborhood.

The fee for an annual permit to keep chickens is ten dollars ($10.00).

Number and Type of Chickens Allowed.
(a) The maximum number of chickens allowed is four (4) per lot.
(b) Only female chickens are allowed. There is no restriction on chicken species.

(a) Chickens must be kept in an enclosure or fenced area at all times. During daylight hours, chickens may be allowed outside of their chicken pens in a securely fenced yard if supervised. Chickens shall be secured within the henhouse during non-daylight hours.
(b) Enclosures must be clean, dry, and odor-free, kept in a neat and sanitary condition at all times, in a manner that will not disturb the use or enjoyment of neighboring lots due to noise, odor or other adverse impact.
(c) The hen house and chicken pen must provide adequate ventilation and adequate sun and shade and must both be impermeable to rodents, wild birds, and predators, including dogs and cats.
(d) Henhouses.
(1) A henhouse shall be provided and shall be designed to provide safe and healthy living conditions for the chickens while minimizing adverse impacts to other residents in
the neighborhood.
(a) The structures shall be enclosed on all sides and shall have a roof and doors. Access doors must be able to be shut and locked at night. Opening windows and
vents must be covered with predator- and bird-proof wire of less than one (1) inch openings.
(b) The henhouse shall be well-maintained.
(2) Henhouses shall not be placed in the front yard.
(e) Chicken Pens.
(1) An enclosed chicken pen must be provided consisting of sturdy wire fencing. The pen must be covered with wire, aviary netting, or solid roofing.

Odor and Noise Impacts.
(a) Odors from chickens, chicken manure, or other chicken-related substances shall not be perceptible at the property boundaries.
(b) Perceptible noise from chickens shall not be loud enough at the property boundaries to disturb persons of reasonable sensitivity. This proposed ordinance limits the number of chickens to four and requires that they be provided with a minimum amount of space and in a clean and dry hen house, and that they be provided with a fenced outdoor enclosure.  When cared for in this way, chickens do not smell bad.  By limiting the number of chickens and describing the space in which they can be kept, this proposed zoning addition ensures the happiness of the chickens, their owners, and their neighbors.
There are many misconceptions regarding the keeping of chickens due to lack of information to the public. Many people think that you might need a Rooster to prodcue eggs and that backyard chickens would be noisy. Roosters are NOT  needed for a Hen to lay eggs and it is a Rooster that can be loud.  Chickens are quieter than dogs or even songbirds; roosters, however, are noisy. No Roosters will be allowed.
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