No pecking order to prevent city chickens


Violet Grasso feeds two of her family's four chickens recently inside the coop her father Vance built outside their home on West Kiowa Street. The idea came from her mother Abigail, and older sister Lily also helps with the project.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Westside resident Abigail Grasso is having fun with her family's four chickens, and would like other people to know they could do likewise.
       In fact, she pointed out - and City Code Enforcement corroborated the fact - that people inside city limits can keep up to 10 chickens (but no roosters).
       “I am surprised at how many people have no idea about this,” Abigail said.
       It's not a business for the Grassos. “We have them for our own entertainment,” she said. Also, “I wanted fresh eggs. If we have any surplus, we will give them away to our neighbors.”
       The strategy is in keeping with Westside traditions from days gone by, when farm animals of all kinds were commonplace here.
       Abigail was inspired by a picture of her great-grandfather “with chickens on his lap and all around him. I was confused because in the picture he is wearing a suit and I assumed he lived on a farm. My mom explained that he kept all of those chickens in the city. I never stopped thinking about it. I have the picture.”
       The Grassos' chickens are four different breeds, bought at a feed store this year, that Abigail has raised from “tiny chicks” with her husband Vance and daughters Lily and Violet. “It was fun for the kids,” Abigail said. “They got to pick them out. It's been a family thing.”
       Vance, who works as a custom cabinet carpenter, built the coop in keeping with city requirements of four square feet per chicken and “adequate outdoor space.”
       The chickens are now about 3 months old. Based on how such birds age, they should be laying by fall, Abigail estimated.
       Colorado Springs is more congenial toward chicken-raising than some other cities along the Front Range. According to information Abigail has gathered, Denver requires a $50 “chicken permit,” Northglenn and Westminster only allow chickens in an agricultural zone, and Thornton doesn't allow them at all.
       Colorado Springs allows other animals under certain conditions. Ken Lewis of Code Enforcement noted that pot-belly pigs are OK as long as they're under 100 pounds. People can have up to four dogs and four cats. Hooved animals, such as goats and horses, are only allowed on properties with at least 37,000 square feet to allow a stable or corral that must also be at least 50 feet from adjoining lots.

Westside Pioneer article