ARTICLE

Only 19 active urban chicken permits in Cedar Rapids

Just two complaints reported to city officials so far

Lucy, one of Rebecca Mumaw's chickens, holds a piece of popcorn in her beak while the chickens walk in the yard this in
Lucy, one of Rebecca Mumaw's chickens, holds a piece of popcorn in her beak while the chickens walk in the yard this in Cedar Rapids. The city council has approved ownership of chickens within the city limits. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Urban backyard chickens have not overrun the city.

Only 28 households here have taken out a $25 permit to have up to six chicken hens in a residential yard as part of the city’s 15-month-old urban-chicken law, Kevin Ciabatti, the city’s new assistant manager of code enforcement, reported this week to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

Nine of the 28 annual permits have expired and just two new permits were taken out this year, Ciabatti added.

The city’s Code Enforcement Division has received two chicken complaints, both at the same address, he said.

Diane Webber, the manager of the city’s Animal Care and Control Division, told the council committee that her office has received one call about a "stray" chicken and one call which turned up a household with 40 chickens being kept in a garage. The owner reduced the number to six, she said.

Webber said the city’s animal shelter has taken in a rooster in recent days. Roosters are not permitted in the city as part of the city’s urban-chicken ordinance.

City Council member Chuck Wieneke said he and his neighbors endured the early-morning noise of a rooster "for two solid months" in their west-side neighborhood, though no one was able to identify from which house the racket had been coming. In the last couple of weeks, though, the noise stopped.

"It is no longer in existence," Wieneke said.Webber said she fields calls from a variety of cities asking for information about the city’s urban-chicken ordinance. Next door to Cedar Rapids, the city of Hiawatha is discussing the issue.

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