MENASHA (NBC 26) — Earlier this year, Menasha residents were buzzing about the possibility of raising chickens in their own backyards. In February, the city council voted to allow residents to keep chickens on their property, and the new regulations took effect on April 1st.
According to Rachel Dowling, one of the first residents to take advantage of the new law, owning chickens is a way to ensure fresh, quality food for your family while also providing benefits for the community.
"A lot of it for me personally is knowing where my food comes from, and the quality of food," said Dowling.
Since the new regulations took effect, Dowling and her family have started to build a chicken coop, making sure it is up to code to ensure the safety and well-being of their chickens.
"To make sure that the chickens are going to have a safe spot to live. We’re building an exterior run so the chickens will always be fenced in but still have access to outside," Dowling explained.
Melanie Kading lives down the street from the Dowling's. She explained how keeping chickens is part of her family’s lifestyle.
“One of the things we learned in 2020 is that grocery shelves could go empty, and we believe in living as local as possible,” said Kading.
Kading also cited the benefits of having fresh eggs and using chickens for fertilizer and pest control.
"Because we garden, they’re going to provide fertilizer, they’re going to eat insects, just do all of these wonderful things for our yard and our continued self-sustaining lifestyle," said Kading.
Despite initial concerns about the cost of eggs, many residents see the value in owning chickens beyond just saving money at the grocery store.
"I think it’s going to show up more in our community," Dowling said. "Being able to share the eggs that the chickens provide with our friends and neighbors is going to be the best thing."