Salem Lakes to explore backyard chicken ordinance

The Salem Lakes Village Board directed staff Monday to start researching a backyard chicken ordinance for the village.

Currently, village ordinances say a property has to be at least two acres to have chickens, said village administrator Patrick Casey.

Housing chickens, chiefly for home egg production, is becoming increasingly common, said Casey, who supplied the board with samples of ordinances from other municipalities in Wisconsin.

“It’s very popular these days to have backyard chickens,” Casey said.

In fact, some board members pointed out that some village residents are keeping chickens in smaller than two acre properties in defiance of the current regulation.

“There are a lot of chickens all over the place,” said Trustee Ron Gandt.

Typical aspects regulated by backyard chicken ordinances are the number of birds allowed per size of lots, need for a coop and sometimes placement of coops. Most also prohibit keeping roosters, whose crowing can be annoying to close-by neighbors. The presence of a rooster is not necessary for a hen to lay eggs.

Village President Diann Tesar asked village staff to start developing an ordinance. She asked fellow board members to let Casey know what aspects of the model ordinances they like or other concerns they would like addressed.

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