I’m told Ogden was once a little rough around the edges, but it has changed for the better. I’m a newcomer to Ogden, but everyone I meet seems to share this sentiment. As a military family stationed at Hill AFB for our last assignment, we have been anxiously waiting for the day when we could put down roots and call a place home. When I was researching the area before we moved here, I instantly knew I wanted to be in Ogden. We love living here so far; the sunshine, outdoor activities, the artistically rich culture and the people are by the far the nicest I’ve ever met. We couldn’t wait to become a part of the community, have our first garden, and even a few backyard chickens. We even chose to buy our home based on the fact it had a huge garden area and chicken coop. Much to my surprise, I discovered backyard chickens are banned from this great city.
Walking through many of the culturally influential cities like Portland, Austin, and even SLC, you can see the brightly colored chicken coops and hens scattered in downtown back yards. Chickens are able to co-exist in many urban settings without any problems. Families who care about local food and sustainability are looking at Ogden as a possible place to settle down. We are one of those families. We are settling in, improving our neighborhood, planting trees, and volunteering in the community. This is the place our kids will grow up and call home. We would love to save money and produce some of our own food. We want our children to be connected to the earth and how it provides our food. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of walking out to your backyard coop to gather eggs.
Why are we not allowed this right when so many other cities are? What’s the real reasoning behind the ban? I’ve been told not to bring the subject up with the city council, as they have been presented the benefits of backyard chickens several times, and it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Unless there is a change in members or a change of heart, it will not happen anytime soon. I’ve also been told, off the record, there is a fear that because of our immigrant population, the city will be overrun with chickens and cockfighting. This fear is unsubstantiated and racist, and should not be the continued justification for the ban. I’m not giving up hope, and my fellow chicken lovers who are housing their hens secretly should not have to live in fear their birds will be taken away.
This ban on chickens should be repealed if Ogden wants to continue drawing new families who take pride in their community and want to see the city prosper and grow. I love living here, and hope one day soon to see brightly colored coops and chickens scattered throughout our own neighborhoods. My own coop stands empty but ready to house our future hens when those on the city council decide to change their minds. If you are interested in making backyards chickens legal in Ogden, please join the Ogden Urban Chicken Fans Facebook group and voice your opinion.
About the Author
Lindsay Sledge is glad to call Ogden home after many years of moving around the world. Her life is chaotic so she gardens and writes poems to keep herself sane. Keep up with her on Instagram.