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Menomonie Considers Backyard Chickens

Ben Rueter |

Last year, Eau Claire's backyard battle to raise chickens within city limits came to an end with the city council rejecting the movement. Now the movement has sprung up again. This time in Menomonie. “It’s the practice of getting back to basics,” said Leah Dunbar, an active supporter and one of the movement leaders. “People have gardens now and they want to know where their food is coming from and they want organic.” Dunbar and many other residents are banding together on Facebook (the group is “Chickens in Menomonie”) to raise awareness for the movement. Menomonie City Councilman Andrew Mercil is actively pushing the issue, as well. He said the reason why chickens aren’t clucking in city limits is because they are considered livestock. “If the people want it, then we should be talking about it,” Mercil said. Dunbar, Mercil, and  supporters on Facebook will continued to collect petition signatures for the change up to February 20, when they brought the issue to the city council to see if they – and the chickens – can break through. The proposal addressed concerns such as noise (roosters won’t be allowed), safety (fencing would be required), and sanitation/odors, items many other communities (including many in Wisconsin) have resolved before ultimately approving it. “They want local, and what’s more local than in your backyard?” Dunbar said.

After their meeting, Menomonie's city council has opted to form a committee to research the proposal.