Urban chickens now allowed in Waverly

Although Wartburg Professor Dr. Ed Weston spends his days teaching biology to others, he realized there’s one aspect about the subject where he had a lot to learn.

“Sometime in the last four years or so its occurred to me that I have the highest degree that you can have in American education, a PhD, and yet I have no idea how to feed myself because I have no idea of how to grow my own food,” Weston said.

He cares for six hens and a large garden and says it’s not necessarily just to be healthy, instead simply an effort to be more self sustainable.

“The chickens are no more important to me than the worms in the composter or the fruit trees or the tomato plants, there just part of a whole system meant to get me as much of my own food as I can get without having to buy it at the grocery store,” said Weston.

Having chickens in Waverly has only been allowed for just one month.  According to the oordinance, only four hens are allowed per residence and no roosters. The chicken coops must be more than 25 feet from all property lines, which Councilman Chris Nuendorf says limits the impact the chickens will have on neighbors. Nuendorf says the town’s chicken ordinance is quite a new concept to put into practice, and not just for the town.

“I think it says we’re a progressive community and we’re willing to look at and do things that could be considered outside the box,” he said. “There was a lot of feedback on both sides on this one but overall it’s been a positive experience”

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