Last year, Hailey City Council approved backyard chickens for a trial period of one (1) year. Next year, the City Council will review the ordinance again and determine whether the ordinance should be renewed to allow backyard chickens without a permit or whether they should be prohibited with or without a conditional use permit.
Prior to May, 2010 it was confusing as to the status of backyard chickens. The Hailey City Council had been discussing the topic at their meetings but evidently had not made a final decision on the matter. However, the word on the street was that up to 5 hens were going to be allowed. An article in the Idaho Mountain Express talked about it and basically gave the impression that backyard chickens were a go.
So everybody went, even though they weren’t really allowed yet. Chicken coops began springing up all over Hailey. I built a really cool one that is an exact replica of my house. Mine has enough room to easily house 5 chickens. In fact, it even has a dual pane window and a fully insulated hen house with heat lamps and luxury roosting area for winter. Plus, there is a large open area for scratching and clucking in during the day. In fact, it is so roomy that we picked up a few rabbits from the Wood River Animal Shelter to live there, too. The chickens and the rabbits get along very well. I think they even like each other. Plus, they don’t take up too much real estate in your yard so almost any size property can handle a few birds.
My wife loves her chickens and calls them “the ladies.” They are great for the kids, too. Neighboring kids and adults like to come by and feed them some grass and watch them for a while. It’s amazing that each chicken lays an egg pretty much every day. And the eggs are beautifully colored with various shades of tan and brown, blue and green. But once you crack one open you really see the difference. The yolks are bright yellow and very firm. The whites are super shiny and the edges and lines between yolk and white are very clear and distinct. Once you eat one, the difference is huge. They are delicious and no store bought egg can compare.
We can never eat all of the eggs so we are constantly giving away 6 packs to friends, family or just acquaintances. They make a great gift and everybody returns the carton in hopes of another fill up.
According to the City of Hailey, the current requirements and standards for keeping backyard chickens in Hailey are as follows:
•No more than 3 hens are to be kept on the property.
•Hens are kept for personal egg consumption only – no backyard slaughtering.
•Rooster are prohibited.
•Backyard chickens are limited to single family dwelling lots in the GR, LB, TN, and LR zoning districts only.
•Predator resistance chicken coops must be provided.
•Coops may be located in the rear yard only and are subject to the same property setbacks requirements of the zoning district in which the lot is located.
•The property or the coop must be fenced in a way that confines the chickens to the property.
Urban agriculture, such as keeping chickens for eggs, can have many community benefits:
•Reduces the vehicle miles traveled associated with food production and delivery – the average item of food in the U.S. travels 1,400 miles to the dinner table, this in turn reduces green house gas emissions.
•Promotes health by allowing individuals the choice to ensure their own foods are safe and high quality.
•Increases food security and potentially reduces individual food costs.
•Reduces waste – a chicken can consume nine pounds of kitchen waste a month and the chicken’s waste can be used as garden fertilizer.
Give me a call if you’d ever like to check out our coop. We have become pretty sophisticated backyard chicken people and we would love to pass our knowledge on to you.