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After complaints, Decorah might ban roosters

DECORAH, Iowa (KWWL) – Decorah city officials are considering the prohibition of keeping roosters within city limits.

Chad Bird, Decorah City Manager, said the city has had several complaints about at least one rooster making noise at all times of the day and night.

“It was actually getting so bad it was affecting people’s sleep,” said Lorraine Borowski, Mayor of Decorah.

The city wants to amend the animal section of city code, which currently says nothing about keeping roosters. Roosters are only mentioned in a section regarding animal fighting. One option would be amending the section regarding “bothersome animals.”

Monday, the council and mayor met for a work session to discuss the code change. Borowski said, by the end, they came to an agreement that something needed to be done.

“When we saw the severity, how long it had been going on and to what length citizens had to go to not hear the noise, we knew it was time to take a look at the ordinance,” Borowski said.

The city does allow the keeping of chickens in city limits, even in residential areas.

Keeping chickens for eggs and meat in towns and cities is part of a growing “urban farming” trend. It also encourages people to grow gardens in small spaces such as in pots on patios.

Borowski said there are several people in town who do keep chickens.

“There are people who do get their eggs from people who have chickens in town. Those are all enclosed. They aren’t allowed to run free,” she said.

Laying hens don’t create much noise, especially at night. Borowski said in the case of the roosters, people were even having to change where they slept to escape the sound.

“There were people who were actually sleeping in other bedrooms in their house to see if they couldn’t hear it, but they could,” she said.

The city manager and city attorney are currently working on how to change the code. That resolution could appear before the city council as soon as the next meeting. If it does, this means the change prohibiting roosters could go into effect before the end of the year.

Borowski added roosters won’t be banned from the city, but instead regulated. Under the proposed changed, roosters could be brought in for short periods of time for things such as the county fair and school projects.

The change also won’t impact those keeping laying hens.

Collin Dorsey

Weekend Anchor

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