Taking a close look at chickens

Town Board to discuss chicken survey tonight

EGG, named by 3-year-old Nora Engstrom, roams a back yard in Mancos. The birds mostly stay inside their coop, but occasionally roam inside the fenced yard. Enlargephoto

Shannon Livick/Times

EGG, named by 3-year-old Nora Engstrom, roams a back yard in Mancos. The birds mostly stay inside their coop, but occasionally roam inside the fenced yard.

The Mancos Town Board will talk chickens tonight during their regularly scheduled meeting.

Town trustees are expected to look at the results of the poultry/fowl survey sent out area residents, asking their opinions about chickens in town.

It turns out, people have a lot to say about chickens in Mancos, as the survey generated 103 responses.

The majority of those who responded to the survey preferred hens to all other fowl, with 61 percent desiring a limit to the number of fowl/poultry allowed. And another 68 percent feel there should be fencing requirements for chickens in town.

Currently, those who live inside the town limits of Mancos are allowed to have chickens, roosters, turkeys, geese or ducks. There are no fencing requirements, no registration requirements and no number limits.

Some Mancos residents have complained that they are sick and tired of hearing roosters crowing at all times of the day and seeing chickens wander freely.

An overwhelming 87 percent of those who responded to the survey believe that poultry/fowl should be allowed in the town limits.

When asked if they would be OK with having neighbors with poultry/fowl, 38 percent said, "Yes, without restriction," and 50.5 percent said "Yes, with restrictions." About 12 percent said "no".When those surveyed were asked what types of poultry would be acceptable, 97.8 percent said hens, while 48.9 percent asked said roosters.

When asked if there should be a limit to the number of fowl raised in town the results were a bit closer: 61.2 percent said yes, while 38.8 percent said no.

The survey results also show that residents preferred having the town require property setbacks for coops, predator-safe cages and fencing for the birds.

The majority of people felt they have no concerns about the birds in town; however, the trustees will discuss the survey tonight as some people felt that the birds create noise, cause mess and odors, and attract predators.

Sue Engstrom, a Mancos resident who owns chickens, says that she has never had a problem with predators in Mancos, but keeps them in a well-built coop at night.

But, when she lived in Bayfield, a bear did eat their chickens, she added.

The family has 12 hens and has never felt they needed or wanted a rooster. She feeds her family with the eggs, and they often make quiche with the eight to 10 eggs the birds lay a day.

Engstrom said she hopes they don't restrict the number of birds that a resident can have, as her family enjoys keeping the birds.

One of their 3-year-old's favorite activities is collecting eggs, she said.

Acting Town Manager Heather Alvarez hopes the survey will give the trustees a wide view of how the town feels about chickens and if any restrictions should be placed on them. The agenda item is for discussion only tonight, and action won't likely be taken.

Also on the agenda, trustees are expected to take action and an E-Reader/E-Mail Policy. Earlier this year, trustees all received e-readers so that they can read their board packets on them.

Alvarez said she researched the issue and found that a $199 Kindle Fire would actually save the town printing costs, she said.

Alvarez said it would take one year before the e-readers pay for themselves because of the cost savings on printing and paper.

Also tonight, the town trustees are expected to renew the liquor license for Mancos Liquor, a routine action, and discuss the parks and recreation survey.

INSIDE the town limits of Mancos, the Engstroms get about eight to 10 eggs a day from their 12 chickens. Enlargephoto

Shannon Livick/Times

INSIDE the town limits of Mancos, the Engstroms get about eight to 10 eggs a day from their 12 chickens.

SUE ENGSTROM watches as her chickens roam  her backyard in Mancos Monday. Enlargephoto

Shannon Livick/Times

SUE ENGSTROM watches as her chickens roam her backyard in Mancos Monday.