(KCPW News) Madelyn Corey had to give up her three chickens after being turned in to Animal Services for raising them behind her Millcreek home. But she says even if the Salt Lake County Council adopts a proposed ordinance later today allowing chickens in unincorporated neighborhoods, it's so strict that her home doesn't apply, and her mobile chicken coop would be outlawed. Corey explains how her so-called "chicken tractor" works, three days after her chickens had to be relocated.
"We didn't want to take one spot and turn it into a chicken coup with a chicken run. So we move our chicken tractor every day, and so they kind of mow the grass there and fertilize it and then we move it to the next spot," Corey says. "So they never have a chance to like dig up any spot on our lawn."
Chicken tractors are popular in the urban chicken movement, because they mimic free-range conditions, while keeping the fowl under control. And this would be impossible under the specifications for coop design outlined in the proposed Salt Lake County ordinance. Coops would need to be constructed with quarter-inch hardware fabric and buried with a two foot section extending below the floor of the coop.
Shon Hardy with Animal Services says the ordinance needed to address a variety of concerns, such as rodent control.
"So I think when people look at these ordinances that they need to take that into effect that we're trying to make this work for all agencies — for Animal Services, for the health department, for neighbors and everybody alike — so that we can make this system work," Hardy says.
County Councilwoman Jani Iwamoto told KCPW she's concerned the proposed ordinance is too restrictive. However, she adds that three county townships — Olympus Cove, Copperton and White City — don't want residents to keep chickens at all, but would be required to do so if the ordinance is approved.