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Ogden residents upset over decision to ban backyard chickens

A petition asking city council to change the city code about chickens received over 300 signatures.

OGDEN, Iowa — Residents of Ogden are ruffling a few feathers as they band together for an unusual cause: the right to keep chickens in their backyard.

Kari Sanculi of Ogden has been raising chickens for over a year, but in October, she got a notice from the city, telling her to pack up the poultry.

"I don't see what the threat is. They're super sweet, gentle creatures that give us eggs that are highly nutritious. They make friends," Sanculi said.

Under Ogden's city code, livestock is not allowed within city limits. However, that code doesn't specify what the definition of "livestock" is. 

Under state code, poultry is included, but federally, domestic fowl such as chickens are their own category and not considered livestock.

The issue arose after a neighbor went to Ogden police with complaints about Sanculi's coop. Shortly after, she received the notice, despite never having any previous issue with having the birds in her yard. 

She started a petition to change the city code around backyard poultry that collected over 300 signatures to bring to city council, but at their November meeting, the council voted not to make any changes.

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"They said, 'We know that Ogden has had chickens forever. We don't care, but it's against city code.' And I heard that over and over and over again. To me, what does that say? Maybe it's time for some change," Sanculi said.

Following that meeting, Sanculi and other poultry owners have been given a six-month ultimatum to get rid of the birds. However, she isn't giving up the fight just yet.

"This is about values. This is about the right to grow or raise or whatever your own food and provide for your own family," she said.

Local 5 reached out to officials with the city of Ogden for this story; as of Tuesday evening, they have not returned a request for comment.

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