Cage-free chicken compromise offered in Yucaipa

US - Yucaipa city officials have found a way to allow a longtime chicken rancher to convert to a potentially more lucrative cage-free operation that should mean less odor and flies in the North Bench neighborhood.
calendar icon 27 August 2007
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The change will allow the agricultural use to continue with 31 percent fewer chickens in the residentially zoned area.

Officials have made it clear, however, that Hoover Ranch will not be allowed to expand or replace chicken houses that deteriorate on the Carter Street property.

The Yucaipa City Council gave preliminary approval to the idea Aug. 13. A formal memorandum of understanding between the city and the ranch may face a vote Sept. 24, John McMains, city director of development, said by phone.

The Aug. 13 vote was 4-1, with Councilman Tom Masner dissenting. He said he does not oppose the cage-free conversion, but sought to ensure that there would be significant repercussions if the ranch does not make the conversion.

In a cage-free environment, the chickens would live in the existing chicken houses, but on the ground instead of in the current set-up of double-stacked cages. Wet manure in the existing operation allows flies to breed. In the cage-free setting, foraging chickens will consume the fly larvae, according to a city staff report.

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