Backyard chicken advocates have something to crow about.
With little discussion, the Palo City Council voted unanimously Monday night to allow residents in the town of 900 people to keep up to four chickens in their yards.
Council members Paula Gunter, Trent Miller and Tom Sanders voted in favor of the measure. Mayor John Harris was also present, but does not vote.
Roosters are not allowed under the ordinance and chickens must be kept in a coop or fenced area at all times, at least 25 feet from any property line.
Mary Benion, 43, and her husband, Rod, 49, might have their four chickens by the end of the week.
The two already began constructing a chicken trailer — basically a small coop on wheels that can be moved around their yard.
With empty lots on either side of their Palo home, they have plenty of space.
“If we didn’t have the extra lot, we wouldn’t do it,” Mary Benion said.
She said the couple thought about getting another dog after their pet died just over a year ago.
“I gave (Rod) the option — dog or chickens and he went for the chickens,” she said.
The council passed the second reading of the ordinance earlier this month.
The Benions spent about $200 on materials for the coop and constructed it during the weekend.
Backyard chickens are already allowed in Madison, Wis., New York, Seattle and Des Moines.
The Cedar Rapids City Council will consider a trial run to allow chickens for a limited number of homes.
Mary Benion said the chickens are an extension of the large gardens where they already have more than 90 tomatoes planted. Last year they canned 100 pints of beans.
Chickens will eat bugs and weeds and usually lay one egg per day.
“We’re trying to do the whole natural thing,” she said.