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South Ogden man seeking allowance of backyard chickens in city

By Ryan Aston - | Mar 22, 2024

RANDI WESTON, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Chickens roam an enclosed backyard in Ogden.

SOUTH OGDEN — A South Ogden man has taken up what has been a hot-button issue in local municipalities — the allowance (or lack thereof) of backyard chickens within his city’s boundaries.

Brian Smith launched an online petition with the aim of legalizing the keeping of birds like chickens, quails, ducks and geese by South Ogden residents. As it stands, no livestock of any kind is allowed to be kept within the city limits.

Smith, who moved to Utah from Florida, kept ducks on his previous property and was surprised to discover that he couldn’t do so at his current residence.

“I used them for support for my mental health. It’s a very peaceful activity,” he told the Standard-Examiner. “When I moved to South Ogden, I was under the impression that every city in the county allowed it. But I discovered that South Ogden, along with its neighbor, Washington Terrace, are the only two that do not.”

Smith’s petition espouses the benefits of consuming pasture-raised eggs, citing a 2010 Cambridge University study suggesting that such eggs can have higher nutritional content than those from caged hens.

The petition also notes residents of South Ogden “want to improve self-sufficiency” and that “the homesteading movement is gaining strength, enabling homeowners to grow and eat their own produce.”

Opponents have argued that allowing chickens in the city would place excess burden on animal services and that the animals would attract unwanted rodents.

In any case, Smith’s petition had garnered nearly 300 signatures as of Wednesday, the majority of which have come from residents of the city. And while Smith says that some members of the City Council have been receptive to the notion of allowing chickens in South Ogden, he’s looking for additional community support.

“I would just ask people to come support or offer their rebuttals at City Council meetings,” Smith said. “The only way this is going to happen is with community support, and the City Council needs to be able to see that for all that it’s worth.

“An online petition is online. They need to see their constituents,” he added.

The Ogden City Council adopted an ordinance allowing backyard chickens in the city’s residential neighborhoods in 2017. Meanwhile, the Washington Terrace City Council discussed urban chickens within city limits Tuesday.


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