The City Council isn't ready to consider allowing backyard chickens, but it's moving forward with a less controversial request to allow bee keeping.

Chicken proponents flocked to Tuesday's Louisville City Council meeting to talk up the benefits of raising chickens, saying it's part of an overall desire for more sustainable living. Chickens provide a ready supply of high-quality eggs, eat table scraps and produce waste that makes good compost, they said.

"It's time that we connect more with where food comes from," said Louisville resident Janna Butler. "It brings us back to a place where we need to be as a planet."

Though no opponents spoke Tuesday, council members said most of the community comments they've been hearing are anti-chicken.

"People are telling me they don't want chickens next door to them," said Councilman Hank Dalton.

Opponents cite noise, stink and the possibility that chickens will attract more predators to neighborhoods.

"We need to talk more about it," said Mayor Chuck Sisk. "Let's find ways to better educate our citizens and dispel some of the concerns."

A growing number of communities statewide and nationally have passed laws allowing chickens to roost in neighborhoods.

Neighboring Superior recently OK'd up to six of the birds per house, while Boulder already allows small flocks. Longmont also issued 50 residential chicken permits this year as part of a trial program.

Councilman Bob Muckle said, if the matter does move forward, he likes Longmont's example of issuing only a limited number of permits.


But first, he wants to see general community support.

"It's got to be something the community widely embraces," he said.

Councilwoman Sheri Marsella said her concerns include increasing the workload for code enforcement officers and the potential for neighbor conflicts.

"I'm very concerned about pitting neighbor against neighbor," she said.

Backyard chicken supporters said they plan to set up a table at the weekly Downtown Louisville Street Faire to provide education.

The council did agree Tuesday to ask the Planning Commission to consider a request from a Louisville couple to legalize backyard bee hives, noting they haven't heard much opposition to the idea.

Joseph Alper and Michele Pelanne said they've seen the effects of Boulder County's diminishing bee population on their large vegetable garden and want to try bee keeping.

"Last year, I lost a lot of crops because I didn't have honeybees in my yard," Pelanne said.

Archived comments

Why not try it?If it isn't working we can have some big ole chicken bbq block parties! ;)


6/13/2009 9:21:04 PM

Bees...good. Quiet pollinators. My neighbors get chickens and I will get a fox.


6/3/2009 8:15:07 AM

Be wary of a government that restricts your ability to be self sufficient. It stifles their ability to extract fees and control.


6/3/2009 8:27:31 AM

Oh yes, I hope my neighbors start raising bees, since my entire family is deathly allergic to bee stings.Sounds perfect.At least chickenscan't fly into your backyard and force feed themselves or their eggs to you.


6/3/2009 9:20:33 AM

The fact that the only people at the meeting were pro-chicken isn't enough community support - obviously those that oppose chickens doesn't care enough to come and voice their opinion - the people have spoken - let the chickens in!

If NYC allows chickens what's the problem - there certainly is more room here for them!

As for the permits - that's not fair - so someone with connections gets one and someone without doesn't??Just limit the number - 4 or 6 sounds good.No roosters, proper coops and provide information on where to have the chickens properly slaughtered after they are no longer egg producing.

Geez - whine and complain when you don't even know what the outcome will be.that's like telling the kids they can't go outside and when asked why the parents respond 'something bad might happen'.complete foolishness!


6/3/2009 9:47:20 AM

Obviously all these anti-chicken people were not around Louisville thirty or forty years ago, when the town was surrounded by farms, including many with chickens, not to mention cows and pigs. In our modern mindset, we want our easily available organically grown food, but we don't want to have to put up with the pleasantries of raising/growing it.


6/3/2009 10:19:30 AM


The city is still surrounded by farms and the livestock raised on farms is not at issue. The issue is livestock being raised in the city limits by our next door neighbors who are mere feet away from us.If you want to raise livestock I hear there are many farms for sale these days at fire sale prices.


6/3/2009 11:03:34 AM

"...deathly allergic..." not likely.Death by bee sting has not been proven by any epidemiological study.Yes, even some doctors will tell you this stuff, but it's mostly myth.however, panic by the person stung, or those around him/her can produce a systemic reaction in itself.

On a lighter note - "The fact that the only people at the meeting were pro-chicken ..."Does this mean the anti-chicken crowd were actually too chicken to show up?Duplicitous jerks.

This whole chicken issue simply needs better marketing.

How about a documentary?"An Inconvenient Rooster" comes to min


6/3/2009 2:19:17 PM

Right...no one has ever been killed by a swarm of bees, especially someone who is allergic to stings in the first place.Crawl out from under the rock occasionally, data boy.


6/3/2009 3:51:38 PM

According to http://books.google.com/books?id=6Qttiin53VwC&pg=PA403&lpg=PA403&dq=deaths+from+hymenopterans+stings&source=bl&ots=LRaVPvs76T&sig=LquMymLhSniTdpMLlzeK5wVi8iI&hl=en&ei=yyInSqi0KJXktAPugdVZ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA402,M1 40 deaths per year have been documented but there is considered to be underreporting.


6/3/2009 7:29:08 PM

I had a friend I visited frequently in Lafayette whose neighbor kept four chickens. She had no complaints. There was no smell or noise. There would only be noise if the chicken keepers had a rooster. Even then, I wonder if it would really be louder than a magpie or a drumming-on-house woodpecker.


6/4/2009 12:16:48 AM