Gypsum changes its backyard poultry rules | VailDaily.com

Gypsum changes its backyard poultry rules

GYPSUM — The town of Gypsum is now a chicken-friendly community.

The Gypsum Town Council this week approved changes to its municipal code to allow homeowners to keep up to six hens. The new rule applies to residents whose property covers at least 5,001 square feet. That action comes after a group of passionate poultry enthusiasts lobbied for the rules change during a September meeting.

"Currently there is a huge backyard chicken movement that has been going on for years now," said supporter Anne Coequyt. "Backyard hens are just another way for Gypsum residents to maximize the productivity of their property and be more self-sufficient."

Jennifer Vanion, of Glenwood Springs, also appealed to the council to change the rules. She told town officials she worked on a backyard hen ordinance for Glenwood Springs a couple of years ago and that during the past two years, Glenwood has seen 78 dog complaints but only two chicken complaints.

“Backyard hens are just another way for Gypsum residents to maximize the productivity of their property and be more self-sufficient.”Anne CoequytOrdinance supporter

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Town Council members ultimately agreed that chickens could be welcomed in town, although the birds may still be prohibited by homeowners associations in various Gypsum neighborhoods.

New rules

In addition to the six hens limitation, Gypsum's new chicken regulations state:

• Roosters are only permitted on properties that cover two or more acres.

• Chicken coops must be located in rear or side yards and must be at least 15 feet from neighboring residential structures.

• Chickens are not permitted to range outside of rear or side yards of owners' property and must be protected by an enclosed chicken coop from dusk until dawn.

• Chicken feed must be kept within the residence or garage, secure from rodents or wildlife.

• Chicken processing is prohibited outside of the residence or garage.

The town has also set standards for chicken coops and chicken runs, noting that the habitats must be predator proof and provide adequate ventilation, sun and shade.

During discussion of the issue, the only question was raised by council member Chris Estes. He cited the regulation that coops be located in side or rear yards noting that depending on the property, front yards might be the most appropriate location.

"We don't want to change the rules just to have problems with it," said Mayor Steve Carver.

"If the issue arises, we can deal with it though a conditional use permit," responded Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll.