Glenwood leans toward allowing chickens
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Chickens kept within electrified fences soon may be allowed within Glenwood Springs city limits.
The fencing isn’t to keep the chickens from getting out. It’s to keep bears, mountain lions and other predators from getting in.
The City Council is expected to formally consider the ordinance next month. A majority has voiced preliminary support for allowing chicken coops in town.
Unlike a number of other nearby communities, Glenwood Springs doesn’t allow residents to raise chickens in outside coops. A number of residents have asked the city to let them start doing so.
The City Council last week discussed a backyard chicken ordinance that would allow for raising up to a half-dozen hens but no roosters.
A critical requirement of the ordinance, from the perspective of local wildlife officers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, is electrified fences to deter predators such as bears.
“They get that shock and they’re out of there. They generally don’t want to have anything to do with that,” Glenwood Springs district wildlife manager Dan Cacho said.
State wildlife officials worry about a continuing bear problem in the Roaring Fork Valley. Kevin Wright, district wildlife manager in the Aspen area, said he deals with probably more bear problems than anywhere in the state, and Aspen doesn’t even allow chickens.
“It’s pretty hard putting down bear after bear after bear after bear. I’m really getting tired of it,” he said.
Garbage is a chief attraction for bears, but Wright said he thinks chickens would be even a bigger draw. He said the problem of backyard chicken coops and predators is a significant concern for wildlife managers around the West.
“They’re starting to kill grizzly bears over a 50-cent chicken,” he said.
He said electrified fencing is the best way to minimize such problems.
Cacho said a bear recently broke into a non-electrified coop in the Basalt area.
He said the Glenwood Springs area has a “tremendous” bear problem and an increasing problem of conflicts with mountain lions. Wildlife officials worry about foxes, weasels and other predators going after chickens as well.
Chicken-raising enthusiast Tom Trowbridge he thinks electrified fencing is more than many people want to do.
“But I think we’re willing to do that, to do things the right way,” he said.
Council member Dave Sturges said he still doubts that backyard chicken raising is proper in an urban area, or fair to wildlife, but he suggested that if it’s allowed, the issue be revisited in a few years to see how it’s working out.
“I want this to succeed, actually. I want to see if this can be done in this community,” he said.