Please put chickens on the August 16 agenda

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Local Voices

Adam Barker

Note: The statement below was presented as a public comment during the Committee of the Whole meeting of Lansing’s Village Board on July 19, 2022. Mr. Barker also shared the document with The Lansing Journal for publication as a Local Voices submission.

Mayor Eidam, Administrator Podgorski, and Village Trustees,

My name is Adam Barker. Thank you for your time this evening.

The Village of Lansing Code of Ordinance that was available on February 28, 2014, defined “animal” as “any live creature, both domestic and wild, except humans.” It said that “The term ‘animal’ includes fowl, fish, and reptiles.”

It then defined “wild animal” as “any live monkey, nonhuman primate, raccoon, skunk, fox, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, lynx, or any other warm-blooded animal that can normally be found in the wild state.”

“The term “wild animal”, it said, “does not include:

  • Domestic dogs
  • Domestic cats
  • Farm animals
  • Rodents
  • Any hybrid animal that is part wild
  • Captive-bred species of common cage birds”

It further stated that “it shall be unlawful for any person to own, harbor, or permit at large any exotic or wild animal.”

Later that year, on December 15, 2014, these definitions were updated so that “animal” meant “any live creature except humans.” A definition was added for “domestic animals” which it said “includes dogs, cats, domesticated sheep, horses, cattle, goats, swine, fowl, ducks, geese, turkeys, confined domestic hares and rabbits, pheasants, and other birds and animals raised or maintained in confinement.” “Wild animal” was updated to mean “any live monkey, nonhuman primate, raccoon, skunk, fox, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, lynx, or other warm-blooded animal that can normally be found in the wild state.”

It then continued, saying, “Chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, guinea hens, honeybees and turkeys shall also be considered wild animals.”

What did not change between February and December of 2014 was the statement that “it shall be unlawful for anyone to own, harbor, or permit at large any wild animal.” Because chickens had been included in the “wild animal” definition, they were thus outlawed in our village.

Interestingly, the animals defined as domestic in February but not defined as wild in December, and thus it would seem animals that are permitted to be kept in our village, were domesticated sheep, horses, cattle, goats, and swine.

Chickens were called “wild” and prohibited, while sheep, horses, cattle, goats, and pigs were not. I find this fascinating and hilarious given that the actual scientific name for chickens is Gallus domesticus. But I digress.

I should mention that these changes effected in 2014 are still in effect today (with the exception of honeybees being classified as wild). In addition to what I’ve mentioned, in chapter 10 of article II, the code also allows residents to keep “dangerous dogs that present a serious risk of physical harm or death to human beings.” So long as they follow a few rules.

Chickens are scientifically, functionally, and downright obviously domestic, not wild, and they certainly don’t present any risk of harm or death to human beings. Surely, with a few simple rules, Lansing residents can responsibly keep them on their properties.

Please hear me: I and the dozens of residents asking you to change this muddled and contradictory ordinance so that we can just have a few chickens in our yard understand that none of you were in your current positions when these changes went into effect 8 years ago. You did not induce these ordinances, but you have inherited them, and you do have the power, given to you by us residents, to change them.

It’s been eight months since I stood here and presented you with our initial request backed by a petition signed by over 100 of your constituents. While we understand that you’re busy people doing lots of worthwhile things, putting this change into effect does not need to be complicated and certainly doesn’t require a year’s worth of time. We’re asking that it be put on the August 16 meeting agenda for consideration, and on the September 6 agenda for a vote.

If for any reason any one of you would not vote in favor of such a change, please see me after the meeting, and I’m sure I can change your mind.

Thank you for your time.

Adam Barker


Local Voices is our version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Send your submissions to The Lansing Journal with “Voices” in the subject line.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. If we get or allowed chickens within the village, I would like to get miniature pony or two . My backyard and garage are big enough to accomodate them. Where does it stop . With gas prices I would love a horse and buggy ! cow or two produces much needed milk as chickens produce eggs, When will Ridge rd. be turned into a dirt path again ? Go forward people not backwards. The property west of Torrence is perfect in the subdivisions. Lansing used to say Keep Lansing Clean ! Chickens an be very dirty critter !

  2. There are already chickens in Lansing. You might want to see if there is an acreage restriction.

    At up to $6.00 for a carton of 18 eggs at the store, having a couple of chickens in the coop could surely offset the price. This isn’t only financially sound, it is a way to insure you know exactly what goes into the food you eat. I come from a farming family and chickens were part of the barn yard. When a chicken got to an age that didn’t produce the best quality egg, she fed the family. My parents went through the depression and they never missed a meal. Why–when everyone else was standing in line for their food–because they grew their own.

    When comparing miniature ponies, a cow or two, and a horse and buggy to chickens, I quote Mark Twain. Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.

    Keep crackin’ Mr. Barker. I’m pullet for ya.

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