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Menasha residents could soon be allowed to own urban chickens

Urban chickens
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jan 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-28 15:39:45-05

MENASHA (NBC 26) — The city of Menasha may soon allow residents to have chickens in their backyards.

This isn't the first time the common council has talked about this. Urban chickens were voted down in 2019.

“It's my speculation we're going to end up having a split vote on council and the mayor is going to be casting the tie breaker vote,” said Austin Hammond, the fourth district Alderman in Menasha.

On February 20th, the Menasha common council will vote.

If passed, there are restrictions like how many chickens you can have, the space in your backyard and that you're a homeowner.

“You're going to get the health department that comes out, makes sure the coop is the right square footage, that you keep it clean, healthy, all the requirements that are needed for the birds,” said Hammond.

Urban chickens are a hot topic online, especially due to high egg prices. But according to one pro-chicken resident, backyard-to-table might not be any cheaper.

“It probably does cost more to own your own chickens and to get eggs, but knowing where my food is coming from for me is invaluable,” said Rachael Dowling, a Menasha resident who started a petition for urban chickens.

Depending on where you live in the Fox Valley, you might already be allowed to raise chickens.

Appleton, Fox Crossing, Harrison, Kaukauna, Kimberly, Neenah, Buchanan and Greenville all allow urban chickens.

“They've kind of paved the way for us to have chickens in the city of Menasha. They've made mistakes and learned from them,” said Dowling.

Some of the biggest concerns are about smell and disease.

According to Hammond, Menasha is behind on the trend of allowing hens.

“All the neighboring municipalities have it, so I don't see why Menasha doesn't yet, so I'm in support of it,” said Hammond.

For Rachael, this small change could impact her family in a big way.

“I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, and recently I was diagnosed with another chronic illness, so a lot of it for me personally is knowing where my food comes from, and the quality of food,” said Dowling.

If approved, Menasha residents could have chickens in their backyard as soon as April 1st.