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OTTUMWA — We adulation our dogs and cats. They’re associates of the family.

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But there’s a new pet bustling up in backyards in Ottumwa — the chicken.

Chickens accept been roosting actuality for sometime, but Ottumwa burghal councilmen appetite to analyze their options afore abrading out a new burghal craven and aerial authorization in advancing weeks.

It’s a accommodation that’s apprenticed to cockle a few feathers.

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Ottumwan Jerry LaPoint doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. He keeps his craven accommodation clean.

LaPoint has about 20 chickens on the four burghal lots he owns on Ray Street.

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He credibility out the backyard chickens can be your claimed kitchen atom disposal, annoyance eliminator, garden admixture maker, and aback out of eggs, one can footfall in to the backyard instead of active to the store.

And LaPoint’s chickens apperceive their pecking adjustment about his house.

For the accomplished year the chickens accept played a basal role in allowance to augment his ancestors of four. “We get about 6 to 8 eggs a day,” said LaPoint. His boys, Mason and Evan, adulation the chickens and they go out anniversary day attractive for eggs.

In accession to adopting the chickens, LaPoint’s ancestors maintains a ample garden adjoining to their ancestors home in southeast Ottumwa.

For Jerry, the chickens are therapeutic. As a disabled person, he loves alive in his garden and disposed his chickens. “They accumulate me going,” he said. “I bought these chickens from an Amish agriculturalist bottomward by Keosauqua and we hatched them ourselves. There’s annihilation bigger than teaching your accouchement immediate about agriculture.”

•••

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LaPoint has abutment for his craven adventure from Wapello County Extension Service Horticulturist Jennifer Daughtery.

Daughtery says chickens are abundant for allowance accession caring kids by teaching them responsibility, aliment processes and care-giving.

“When adopting chickens and rabbits, a ancestors becomes affianced in adopting animals,” said Daughtery. “There is a aberration amid assuming a pet and livestock animals.”

4-H additionally teaches those accouchement about basal business skills, ability of the aliment alternation and a abounding ambit abilities from the egg to the plate.

Daughtery acquainted the proposed changes to the city’s beastly authorization would be arbitrary to 4-H families. “This would be a huge appulse to 4-H kids and their families,” she said.

Daughtery afresh purchased a lot in Ottumwa big abundant to acquirement chickens. “It’s cutting me that I won’t accept to the befalling to do that,” she said.

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•••

Coping with their neighbor’s accommodation raises concerns.

For Regina Walker, who has COPD, backyard chickens allure a host of bloom problems.

“I’ve been actual anxious about my health,” she said. “The aroma is horrendous, additional I accept added rodents alfresco my house.”

Walker’s in favor of an burghal craven authorization which allows neighbors accord of mind. “I anticipate neighbors should accept a appropriate to say whether chickens can be aloft aing door,” she said. “I aloof don’t apperceive what’s in the air I’m breath with chickens aing door.”

Presently, Walker and her sister, Cindy VanHoorn, alive aing aperture to addition who raises chickens.

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As a above science drillmaster who confused aback to alive in the home area she was raised, VanHoorn accurate her issues about ache to board associates Tuesday night.

“What happens if the birds get sick?” she said. “As a actuality active aing to chickens, there are times aback the wind is alarming and you can’t sit alfresco because of the smell.”

VanHoorn additionally said the arrival of mice in her home has added back the chickens arrived. “When I grew up in that home, we didn’t accept mice. And you accept to anticipate about acreage values. No one wants to alive aing aperture to chickens.”

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Councilman Mitch Niner says he supports chickens aural the burghal limits. But, he said, the burghal needs to accept a abstracted authorization that deals with burghal chickens or rabbits.

“We charge to put it in atramentous and white and accept a acceptable process,” Niner said, citation Iowa City’s action on burghal chickens. “It’s a bad-tempered situation. We should accede adopting article like Iowa City. No one wants chickens active about the backyard.”

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With added families acceptable self-sustaining, Councilman Matt Dalbey says the abstraction of an burghal craven authorization is account discussing. “People accept a lot of apprehension because of the ample confinements,” he said. “If we’re activity to regulate, there will be added costs to regulate.”

Iowa City’s Burghal Craven Authorization is actual specific. Association must: call the craven accommodation and pen and the abstracts acclimated and cubic feet; account a diagram of the property; the buyer and/or backer charge approve; and accept accounting approval from all acreage owners adjoining to the acreage area the chickens are to be kept. The antecedent fee in Iowa Burghal to accession chickens is $100 and $75 to renew anniversary year.

Councilman Skip Stevens said the affair is a boxy one. “I can see this accepting bright out of hand. If addition has six chickens aing door, it could be a damage in affairs your home. Today, I’m the bad guy. I’m not in favor of it.”

•••

Finding the manpower to adapt would abatement on the amateur of Ottumwa Badge Department’s Beastly Control Officer Jeff Williams.

“We had maybe a scattering afore … but numbers are growing for craven complaints,” said Williams to board members.

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As a immediate witness, Williams said he tries to explain the authorization to bodies who accession chickens. The aboriginal footfall is association charge acquaint the arch of badge to accession chickens.

Complaints advised afresh by Williams ambit from one to 70 chickens. “I my able opinion, you charge to baptize what is a coop. We can’t accept chickens [being raised] in agenda boxes.”

— Wanda Moeller can be accomplished at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @wandamoeller1

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