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Counting their chickens

by Tom Hasslinger
| June 21, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Three is barely an omelet.

Some Coeur d'Alene residents want the city to change its recently-amended animal ordinance so city dwellers can raise more chickens.

The city recently imposed a three-chicken cap on the number of cluckers city residents could own when it amended and updated several of its animal ordinances, but now some citizens want the city to revisit the issue.

Three chickens, they say, barely covers breakfast.

"Three chickens is kind of a 'why bother?'" said Sherry Bullard, who lives on Indiana Avenue in Coeur d'Alene and is thinking of raising her own chickens. "You'd get two eggs at most possibly per day."

Instead, Bullard suggested, raise the limit to 12 so city farmers can reap the rewards of raising their own food.

The city said it's worth considering.

"I'm totally open-minded and if people want to talk more about it I'm all for it," City Councilman Mike Kennedy said. "If that number is wrong I'd love to know why and why it wouldn't work."

The old ordinance allowed an unlimited number of chickens.

But last month, when the packaged animal ordinance changes were presented to the city to consider, the city's legal department suggested prohibiting chickens.

The council overruled that recommendation on the grounds that more people are raising them as a healthier, more economically friendly way to provide food.

They attached the limit of three arbitrarily, Kennedy said, focusing more on allowing chickens rather than prohibiting them, adding the cap to override the previous unlimited allowance.

From a practical standpoint, that might be too low, so the re-done ordinance could be coming back up.

"I'd be open to learn more about it," Kennedy said.

For Randy Mote, who owns 10 chickens along with an asparagus, potato, pepper and corn garden on Wallace Avenue in Coeur d'Alene, the reward for more in the flock is obvious.

"I get around two and half dozen per week," he said of his egg harvest. "Organic, nothing but good."

Although not scheduled as an agenda item, several citizens including Mote and Bullard are planning to speak to the city's General Services Committee at noon today in the Community Room of the Public Library to see if the city would be willing to revisit the rule.

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