More Twin Cities suburbs allowing chickens in backyards

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The poultry population is on the rise in the Twin Cities area as more communities are allowing chickens in their backyards, the Star Tribune reports.

Last week, Shakopee adopted an ordinance to allow residents to have up to five hens in their backyards, while nearby Savage, which currently doesn't allow backyard chickens, is expected to approve an ordinance in August.

Minneapolis and St. Paul already allow backyard fowl, the Pioneer Press said.

As for Shakopee, the city's mayor, Brad Tabke, told the Star Tribune that the idea for the ordinance came from Shakopee High School students who were in the Environmental Learning Center. Tabke, who grew up on a farm in Iowa, noted how it was important to "keep our rural heritage in Shakopee" and teach kids the importance of agriculture in their lives.

The new ordinance in Shakopee comes with some restrictions. Only hens and no roosters are allowed, and owners can't sell eggs commercially. There are also regulations about the size and location of chicken coops, and the chickens aren't allowed to run unconfined.

Not all Minnesota communities are in favor of having backyard chickens. According to the St. Cloud Times, the St. Cloud City Council earlier this month voted no to the idea of allowing backyard chickens in residential areas.

The blog BackYardChickens.com has the basics of raising chickens in residential areas. The blog said there are many benefits to raising chickens, saying they are easy and inexpensive to maintain in comparison to other pets, they produce fresh eggs, and provide chemical-free bug and weed control.

Chickens aren't the only farm animals being raised in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Goats are already allowed in St. Paul, and a group earlier this year said it was going to push for making the animals legal in Minneapolis.

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