Rapid City Council flocks together to discuss details about hen raising

Instead of winging it, the Rapid City Council discussed Monday night about raising hens in city limits.
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 11:36 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - It’s a topic that has the city clucking.

Alderwoman Darla Drew pushes for the legal right to raise chickens on property inside city limits, but with some guidelines.

Licenses would need to be attained from the Black Hills Humane Society, no roosters will be allowed and proper predator-proof structures are needed to house the chickens.

But enforcing those rules may be tough if it's only animal control officers.

“We only have three officers for 78 ,000 people here and of course, the humane society. But I’m pretty confident we can work out these glitches,” Laura Armstrong, alderwoman for Ward 5, said.

Another concern is the chicken limit. Drew said some people think they can create a mini food supply during this pandemic by being able to raise chickens at home.

However, four chickens would be the limit for an owner.

A couple of aldermen questioned if four is enough.

“Saying four chickens is a sustainable food source is kind of a stretch,” Alderman John Roberts, Ward 4, said.

Roberts also pointed out that homeowners’ associations won’t allow this. Therefore, several residents won’t have the ability to raise chickens even if they wanted to.

Other concerns were mentioned like hens making a mess and too much noise.

But Drew questioned if neighbors should have input on what individuals do on their property.

“How much say do you want your neighbors to have over your property? So I think that’s a slippery slope and we really have to think if we are going to include neighbors because they move. A new guy moves in and he doesn’t like your chickens. He gets to have (a) say on that?” Drew said.

The council members agree more research is needed and trying a pilot program first might be the plan.

Either way, it’s a topic they may have to work around the cluck.

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