West Fargo gives hope to residents wanting to raise chickens
West Fargo city commissioners directed staff to draft an ordinance permitting backyard chickens.
WEST FARGO — With the price of eggs rivaling that of a small gold chunk, West Fargo residents may soon be allowed to raise their own eggs after city commissioners directed staff to draft an ordinance to allow residents to house chickens in their backyard.
West Fargo City Commissioners Mandy George and Roben Anderson said residents have long requested the city allow chickens to be raised in backyards, but the call has been renewed as the national price of eggs shattered records in December and the supply dropped significantly.
At that time, a dozen large Grade A eggs was more than double the average 2022 price of $1.79. This price hike followed a historic outbreak of bird flu in the U.S. that disrupted egg production and supply.
"I'd like to see it as an option for residents and I think it could help with food security as well," Anderson said. "We've seen shortages of eggs as well. It's not just the cost. Having a steady supply of eggs is important."
"We feel right now the time is relevant to bring this forward with the price of eggs," George said.
The cities of Fargo and Horace already allow for backyard chickens and Moorhead has been considering allowing residents to keep chickens as well, said Adam Altenburg, a community and transportation analyst for Metro COG, a metro planning group.
About 20 communities across Minnesota do allow backyard chickens. Chickens are not permitted in Dilworth, Bismarck or Grand Forks.
Altenburg said Metro COG, along with the Fargo Cass Public Health's Cass Clay Food Commission, can help provide residents with guidance and education for local food systems. He added that Metro COG has been supportive of allowing residents to house chickens within urban areas.
According to information from Metro COG and Fargo Cass Public Health, along with providing a food source, urban chickens have other benefits such as chickens can help keep yards clean by eating bugs, pests and weeds. Chicken droppings can be composted and used as fertilizer as long as safe composting practices are used.
Housing chickens can also reduce food waste because instead of throwing many foods, they can be used for chicken feed.
The West Fargo City Commission voted 4-1 to direct staff to begin drafting an ordinance that will allow for backyard chickens. Commissioner Brad Olson voted against the measure. A timeline for when the ordinance would be returned to the commission for approval was not provided.
Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at email@example.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .