Chandler considers urban chickens

May 22, 2013

The City of Chandler will decide Thursday whether or not to allow chickens within city limits. Turns out, urban chickens are already roosting across much of the Phoenix area.

You can hear them across the Valley, from Phoenix to Gilbert, Mesa to Scottsdale. But not in Chandler, at least not legally. At least not yet. But if tonight’s ordinance goes through, residents in single-family dwellings will be allowed up to five hens.

chickens Urban chickens can be seen throughout the Valley - and tonight, Chandler may be added to the list of cities that allow the birds. (Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)

Chicken advocate Joe Papay is all for it. He says chickens do more than just lay eggs.

“They also can rid your yard of bugs, because they eat bugs and scorpions and things like that. Their waste is also compostable, so if you collect it out of a coup, you can compost it,” Papay said. “Really, in a sense, nothing goes to waste with a chicken.”

He has been fighting to have chickens for more than year, and says he’s met plenty of fellow residents who agree. But not everyone has a soft spot for the fowl. Chandler Planning Administrator Jeff Kurtz says some chicken opponents have asked if the city is “crazy.” Others have more detailed worries.

“That they breed disease, that they make noise,” Kurtz explained. “You know, it really is a variety of different concerns that the community has put forward on emails that run a wide gambit.”

Even so, Kurtz says the feedback has been more pro-chicken than anti. Still, some Chandler chicken lovers may be out of luck. More than 80 percent of single-family dwellings in the city are located within home owners associations – many of which have their own rules against the birds.

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