West Fargo seeks input on allowing backyard chickens
Commissioners are considering ordinance to allow backyard chickens and have opened a survey to gauge residents' interest.
WEST FARGO — To gauge resident support for allowing backyard chickens, West Fargo has opened a survey for residents to give their input as staff considers drafting an ordinance that would support the egg-laying enterprise.
The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/P5LG9V9 and will be live through 12 p.m. Friday, March 10, Communications Director Melissa Richard said.
"The data from the survey will be provided to the City Commission and could be potentially used to draft an ordinance or lead to additional public input opportunities," Richard said.
West Fargo commissioners Roben Anderson and Mandy George helped create the survey and are working with staff to evaluate the potential permit after proposing the city consider allowing backyard chickens at its Feb. 20 meeting. The West Fargo City Commission voted 4-1 to direct staff to begin drafting an ordinance that will allow for backyard chickens, with Commissioner Brad Olson casting the lone dissenting vote.
Residents have long requested the city allow chickens to be raised in backyards, but former city commissions have pecked away at the idea, unanimously voting not to change the city ordinance at least twice in the past 10 years.
Commissioners renewed the call for consideration of backyard chickens 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.
The cities of Fargo and Horace already allow 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 allow backyard chickens. Chickens are not permitted in Dilworth, Bismarck or Grand Forks.
According to information from Metro COG and Fargo Cass Public Health, along with providing a food source, urban chickens have other benefits, such as helping 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 followed.
Housing chickens can also reduce food waste because some food scraps can be used for chicken feed.
Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at email@example.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .