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Walworth County Board OKs backyard chickens in areas zoned as residential

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Andrea Anderson
February 12, 2014

ELKHORN—Rural residents of Walworth County are now able to have chickens on their property.

The county board voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of an ordinance amendment that allows people living on property zoned as residential to have up to six chickens in coops in their backyards.

Daniel Kilkenny, a Walworth County Board supervisor, said he is pleased with the vote and sees no difference in having chickens in the yard compared to dogs.

“It's a common sense thing … especially in rural counties,” Kilkenny said.

The approval comes after about a year of drafting and proposing the amended ordinance, Dale Wheelock, a local poultry farmer and Delavan resident told The Gazette in a January interview.

About a year ago, Wheelock began hearing from people who were keeping chickens on residential properties and were getting flak from neighbors.

Walworth County regulates the zoning for towns with the exception of the Town of Bloomfield. Cities and villages control their own zoning and ordinances.

In December 2012, the Whitewater City Council voted to allow chickens in backyards.

Prior to the approval of the ordinance, chickens were allowed only on properties zoned as agricultural.

The ordinance restricts chickens from mobile home parks and would not allow roosters. Chickens must remain on the property and live in a coop no larger than 100 square feet.

The coop must be movable and be at least 10 feet from side and rear property lines and at least 20 feet from a neighboring residence.

4-H participants are one group that will benefit from having chickens in residential areas, Kilkenny said.

Other benefits include people having chickens as pets and residents being able to harvest their own eggs, Wheelock said.

Also at the meeting

Fellow board members recognized Jerry Grant for his 16 years of service as a county board supervisor.

With a few tears in his eyes, Grant thanked the board members and his family for the support and memories. His final statement to the board was, “I gave it my best shot.”



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