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  • Doug Smith

Learn more about backyard chickens

At the March 6 Council meeting, I will be presenting information about the benefits of backyard chickens in suburban areas. Please feel free to send any questions to me directly or to by Monday. Your letters of support - and concerns - are welcome as I will be addressing issues I found while researching the topic.

Watch the live or recorded presentation at

Resident promotes chickens to Council

My daughter, Felicity (12), presented the below information to Council. She has done a splendid job researching and drafting information relating to an issue she cares about deeply. In third grade, she attended the live government program hosted at City Hall by Council Member Bonnie Michael. That learning experience made an impression on her and gave her a level of comfort to speak to Council.

I will be proposing a change in the ordinance to reduce the distance requirements as she recommends. The oversight method and complaint mechanism already exist, so any ordinance amendment would simply be a change to the distance requirement. Please stay tuned as I will distribute additional information soon.

Presentation to Council (1/17/2023):

I’m Felicity Smith. The other day my family and I went to the local Fresh Thyme to buy eggs. But the store was completely out, and they did not know when they would restock them. Recently at a local restaurant there was a sign saying that they could not make certain foods due to an egg shortage.

According to the bureau of labor statistics, the average price for a dozen Grade A eggs was $1.51 in 2020. And this year, the average price is $3.59. And for a dozen organic or free-range eggs, the cost is $7.00.

Aside from the supply issue and the economics, there are many benefits to backyard chickens. According to, some benefits include: backyard chickens produce healthier eggs, they are great composters for scraps; they can help children learn responsibility and did I mention they are simply adorable?

It’s true. And some Worthington residents currently get to enjoy chickens. I know of at least three families who have them. The Worthington library promotes chickens to the community by raising chicks each spring. Worthington already has a law allowing chickens.

Currently, the distance requirement is 150 feet. This is less than 5 percent of residential properties in Worthington. This is restrictive. In my neighborhood of Wilson Hill, the average backyard is approximately 30 feet. I suggest Council change the distance requirement from 150 feet to 30 feet so the average person in Worthington has the opportunity to have chickens.

There is one question I really want to ask: why wouldn’t Council want more people to have the opportunity to own chickens? It can’t be an issue of noise. Dogs are allowed and an average dog bark is 120 decibels. A hen at her loudest is 60 decibels - the same as normal human conversation. Hens are typically so quiet that there have been cases of family flocks being kept for years without the next-door neighbors knowing it.

The existing law does not allow roosters. And I think that should remain the same. There is no need for a rooster in the city.

If you change the distance requirements, then I will be allowed to have chickens, and I would name them Mona and Lisa. And that would make me egg-stremely egg-cited.

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