Having been raised in the country and being involved with farmers and ranchers most of my life, I am quite familiar with chickens. We, like most ag families, raised chickens. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to vote for backyard chickens in Belgrade.

In all my visits to farm and ranch places, rarely have I seen the chicken house within 100 feet of the house. There is a reason: chicken poop! It smells, and one thing chickens do well is poop. They go up to 15 times a day and even when they sleep. The average chicken poops about 4 pounds a month, so if you have six chickens, what are you – or more importantly, what is your chicken neighbor – going to do with 24 pounds of poop a month? Don't think you will spread it on your vegetable or flower garden. It is loaded with nutrients, far too much to spread directly on the ground, so your options are to either compost it, pile it in your back yard or put it in the garbage, none of which make you the most popular person in the neighborhood.

I suggest you think hard before you vote to allow chickens in Belgrade. Most city lots are 10,000 square feet or less, and the house usually takes up most of that, so your or your neighbor's chickens could be less than 20 feet from your house. Gives a whole new aroma to your backyard barbecues!

Ken Smith


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