Marshfield Considers Allowing Urban Chickens

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Chickens are one cluck closer to becoming permanent residents in the city of Marshfield.

The city's Sustainable Marshfield Committee is drafting an ordinance that would allow residents to care for up to four hens in their backyards.

Trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, a few years ago Liz Gisvold approached the city, asking to raise her own chickens.

She was given permission, though no ordinance quite addressed city-dwelling chickens.

"I've always tried to be a little more conscious of where my food comes from. A lot of pesticides go into all sorts of feed, vegetables, produce," she said.

But she knows exactly where her eggs are coming from.

Gisvold says on average, each of her four chickens produces between 200 and 250 eggs each year.

More residents have approached the city, interested in having their own backyard chickens.

"This is a thing that's been done in cities and communities around the country apparently without much problem," said Georgette Frazer, who serves on the Sustainable Marshfield Committee.

Still, the committee is looking for more public comment.

Some citizens have been supportive, but others have been worried.

"We're getting complaints, not exactly complaints but concerns that some citizens will not be responsible," Frazer said.

Noise and odor are among a list of concerns.

But Gisvold says her hens are relatively easy to take care of, quiet, and therapeutic.

"They are fairly low maintenance as long as you have a place for them to set up, for them to sleep and to graze around in the yard a little bit. Make sure you feed them and keep giving them water," Gisvold said.

Along with feed, they are fond of eating table scraps and bugs.

"They're just fun. I've had a really big kick out of them," she said.

The public is welcome to share their comments at the committee's meeting, held the second Tuesday of next month.

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