Chicken Coup


The city of Kearney has voted down a measure that would allow chickens to reside within city limits. In a 4-1 vote the hopes of some chicken lovers sizzled.

"I don't feel like chickens, pigs, cattle, horses, there's an inappropriateness for that to be in town," said Kearney city council member Bob Lammers.

"I do think that if I were to vote to allow chickens it would have to be under a system where we said here's how we're going to treat a class of animals like fowl," said council member Bruce Lear.

"Zoning is all about protecting your right and what you can do on your property but it also protects you from your neighbor," added council member Randy Buschkoetter.

"I've been in a lot of cities where they have the allowance of chickens in their years," said Doug Smith a chicken producer who lives near Amherst.

Smith says chickens aren't like other farm animals saying, "I don't think there's any comparison."

"If someone asked me about chickens why not geese and ducks and I'd say because the line is chickens," said Kearney city council member Jonathan Nikkila.

"People would deal a lot worse with dogs and things like that then they would with chickens," said Smith.

The main concerns presented at the meeting were if the council were to allow chickens to flock into Kearney the gate would bust open with other barnyard animals making their way in.

"How do you go about the jurisdiction and how you would administer laws and ordinances and how do you enforce it," said Mayor Stan Clouse.

This failed measure is leaving many people like Smith hoping a new law will hatch in the future for chickens to have a nest in Kearney.

Jonathan Nikkila, the newest council member, was the only vote for chickens to be allowed.