Village approves chicken ordinance
Hortonville to allow chickens on residential properties
By John Faucher
Residential property owners in the village of Hortonville may now house up to four chickens on their property.
The Hortonville Village Board approved an ordinance that allows chicken coops and housing hens at its Oct. 21 board meeting.
The ordinance allows no more than four chickens at R1-single family and R-2 two-family residential properties within the village limits.
Roosters are prohibited within the ordinance.
Residents will not be allowed to slaughter chickens on the premises where they are kept.
Chickens must be kept within a covered coop and a fenced area at all times.
Coops cannot be larger than 50 square feet and they must comply to setback requirements.
Property setbacks discussed
Board members discussed setback measurements and the language of the ordinance.
An initial draft of the ordinance stated chicken coops have a minimum 25-foot setback from any residential structure.
Board Trustee Jim Moeller questioned that number and how it was obtained.
Police Chief Kristine Brownson said she looked at similar ordinances in other municipalities and setbacks ranged from 10 to 100 feet.
Trustees Shauna Strelow and Julie Arendt Vanden Heuvel said most ordinances take fire and health codes into consideration in establishing setbacks.
“We’re talking four chickens here,” said Moeller.
“So much of a health hazard is the feces from four chickens going to be, that we have to be concerned it has to be 25 feet from the residence?” Moeller asked.
He said he doesn’t like to use “some arbitrary number” decided without a reason.
“That’s why I’m saying, your primary driver on this is more than likely whatever the fire code says for a secondary structure on the property,” said Moeller.
Arendt Vanden Heuvel recommended the ordinance setback for chicken coops, reflect whatever the fire code is for outbuildings, and be 25 feet from any neighbor’s residential structure.
Strelow and Moeller agreed.
Arendt Vanden Heuvel made a motion to approve the ordinance with those amendments and Moeller seconded it. The motion carried 6-0.
The ordinance also requires owners register their premises where chickens are kept with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection agency as required by law.