The backyard chicken saga continues locally

As many of you have read, I’ve written about my desire to get backyard chickens on more than a few occasions, like:

There have been quite a few developments since last I wrote on the subject in January and since several of you were interested in following my progress as I and a handful of others pushed for the legalization of backyard hens in our city, I thought an update was in order.

In February 2009, the Longmont city council finally passed an ordinance to allow backyard hens, but only for 50 people who had to register with the city, comply with the set guidelines, pay $30 and obtain a chicken permit. And this would only be for a trial basis. The ordinance would be revisited at the end of 2010 at which time the council would reassess the situation, possibly either allowing more permits to be issued or opening it up citywide, or if it wasn’t working out, shutting down the whole thing all together.

The restriction to 50 permits was upsetting to a lot of us. It seemed like a totally arbitrary number – enough to shut us up, but not enough for a real trial of any kind being that it involved only a tiny fraction of the city’s population. After all of the work we put into it, I was glad they approved something as it was better than nothing.

I had planned on getting one of those 50 permits, but procrastinated a bit because Jody and I weren’t sure if we were going to try to sell our house in the near future and if we were going to, we didn’t really want to have chickens in the backyard during the process (and I didn’t want to snatch up a permit if we weren’t really going to use it). So we hemmed and hawed for over a week and finally decided that we are going to stay put here for a few more years (and make this place more appealing to us and hopefully the next owner too), so I emailed the city planner to make sure permits were still available and he told me they had sold out earlier that week – less than two weeks from when the ordinance went into effect! Ugh.

I later found out that several other people who had been instrumental in getting the ordinance passed in the first place did not get a permit either. 🙁

The city planner decided to start a waiting list in case anyone who obtained a permit changed their mind and returned it, the city would then reissue it to someone on the waiting list. I am #4 of 22 on the waiting list.

I decided that with all that I’ve had going on lately (health tests, panic/anxiety, putting one of our dogs to sleep, etc.), getting chickens at this time was the least of my worries, and I was OK with waiting another year and a half (provided council approved more permits at that time) before pursuing it. Nonetheless, in the spirit of educating ourselves, Jody, the kids and I attended a chicken ownership class in Lyons in April that was quite informative though we still did not plan on getting chickens any time soon. But then…

One of the women who was very involved in getting the chicken ordinance passed was unable to get a permit due to circumstances beyond her control, and because she already had chickens (now known to be illegally), was at risk of having to get rid of them. She appealed to city council to see if they would consider allowing more permits. While they didn’t want to open up permits to the general public, several council members felt it would be OK to allow residents who already had chickens before the ordinance went into effect and were unable to obtain a permit to get a permit and allow them to be within the law. It was also apparently suggested that the 22 people on the waiting list be allowed to get a permit at this time too!

There has been one vote by city council so far to increase the permit number and they voted in favor of it 5-2. There will be a second vote on June 9, then I will know for sure whether or not I can apply for a chicken permit. Whether or not we decide to get chickens this summer or wait until next spring, I am going to pay my $30 and get my permit – just in case. Especially after going to visit a friend’s chickens tonight with the kiddos, I really want some feathered friends of my own. Brawwwk, brawwwk. 🙂

13 thoughts on “The backyard chicken saga continues locally”

  1. I’m glad you might get your permit. I find chickens fascinating and would love to have some of my own, but we don’t really have the space for it. So I will have to live vicariously through folks like you. 🙂

    And I’m very glad that people who already have chickens will be able to keep them.

  2. I <3 this post. Thanks for the update. Reiterated my desire for some chickens in MY yard for me, and for my soon to be 3 year old daughter. Going to wait til next Spring, but chickens we shall have!


  3. I SO want chickens, too, but this is not our forever-home and therefore I don’t want to go to all that effort for only a short period of blissful chicken ownership.

    I have a friend in NC who is always tweeting/posting about her chicken/egg escapades. I’m totally jealous!

  4. ooh good luck. i haven’t even checked on the ordinances in my community (i’m guessing we can’t have chickens, but you never know) because i don’t want to start pining for my own little birdies who lay eggs…..i hope i can live vicariously through you:-)

  5. Ok, I can not figure out that last picture. It looks to me like half a chicken in the background. the red one. I guess it’s bending over and angled weird or something. It just looks like it’s a chicken butt with legs and no body or head.

  6. I’m over here from your and phd’s tweets.

    Let me ask you this, how cold does it get during the winter there? I assumed that CO was pretty cold, but maybe not as much as here? That’s the wall I always run into when I think/dream/long for chickens… what to do in the winter. Even if we’d had a lovely, heated luxury of a chicken coop, it would have been COMPLETELY BURIED by snow this last winter. We had over 6′ of snow in our backyard!


    Hopefully my hubby will be posted to Africa in a few years. I will have all the fresh eggs and goat’s milk I want.

    (yes, that IS a crazy reason to want to move to Africa)

  7. Congrats Amy! My hubby saw something on the news about this last night and told me Longmont was included, so I thought of you right away. Glad to hear you’re going for a permit. Backyard chickens are easy and fun!! Yay!

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