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Hayden approves ducks in city limits

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | October 14, 2020 1:00 AM

A dispute between neighbors has led to the Hayden city council to amend its animal code to now allow for residents to keep and maintain ducks.

“Some people like to keep ducks,” city administrator Brett Boyer said in his report to council Tuesday night, “whether for food — from their eggs — or as pets.”

The council voted unanimously to approve amended language that will essentially treat ducks the same or similar to its chicken ordinances. One duck per 2,000 feet on a lot may now be raised, maxing out at 10 total ducks per lot in residential and residential-suburban zones, and a total of 10 ducks per acre in agricultural-zoned areas. The new language also removes ducks from the point system that determines how many farm animals can live in open space.

The new language steps into a long-standing debate over whether or not ducks should fall into the same legal space as chickens, which often get far more complaints in municipalities, a rap councilman Richard Panabaker said at the meeting was undeserved.

“Whether you’re talking about chickens or ducks, if people take care of them, it’s not an issue,” he said. “But how do you get everybody to pony up to their responsibilities?”

Ironically enough, the move to legalize ducks in Hayden city limits was spawned by a Fish.

“It really has to do with — for any of these animals — the person that takes care of them,” Hayden resident Daniel Fish said at Tuesday’s meeting,” if you look after them and keep them clean.

Fish brought the matter to the Hayden council at the September 22 meeting, when he submitted public comments that championed the owning of ducks, this after he received a complaint from a neighbor about the noise his ducks were making. At that meeting, Fish stressed the health benefits of duck eggs and duck meat over those of chickens, a claim he repeated Tuesday night.

“Ducks are totally different than chickens,” Fish said. “Their eggs are far superior.”

The amended code goes into effect immediately.