Brookings Residents – Ask your City Council to support backyard chickens


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The Brookings County Chapter is hard at work on a campaign to change the Brookings city ordinance pertaining to backyard chickens. Recently the Brookings Sustainability Committee gave the City Council an excellent recommendation for a new ordinance, and the Planning and Zoning Committee gave a not so excellent one.


On Tuesday, November 19th the City Council will be holding a study session to research the issue. Please take the time to let them know that you support modifying the ordinance and definitions to allow for safe and unobtrusive keeping of chickens within city limits.


Please feel free to read over the sample letter below to assist you in drafting your letter. Key terms and phrases identified by Brookings County Chapter members are in bold text.


Help us pass a new ordinance that will allow for backyard chickens and further the sustainability and homegrown prosperity of the city of Brookings! Email the following Brookings City Council members today:

  • Mayor Tim Reed –
  • Tom Bezdichek –
  • Keith Corbett –
  • John Kubal –
  • Mike McClemans –
  • Oepke “Ope” Niemeyer –
  • Jael Thorpe –


If you have questions about the Brookings County Chapter or the Brookings Backyard Chicken Campaign please contact Holly Tilton Byrne at 605-697-5204 or


Sample Letter

To the Members of the Brookings Sustainability Council:
My name is ________ and, I am a resident of Brookings. I am writing to you in regards to your backyard chicken ordinance recommendation to the City Council. As a member of the Brookings community and a member of the Dakota Rural Action Brookings County Chapter I urge you to pass your recommendation allowing hens within city limits.
In order for a backyard chicken ordinance to be successful I do understand that there must be rules and regulations guiding chicken owners. For this reason I support the following:

  • Limiting the number of chickens an owner can have to six hens;
  • No roosters;
  • Coops must be no less than 25 feet from a neighbor’s home;
  • Coops and runs must be temporary structures which completely contain the birds, and;
  • The ordinance should be in the animal section, and the Planning and Zoning definition of agriculture should be changed to reflect that 6 hens do not count as agriculture.

I also support implementing a program to offer educational materials to people wanting to raise chickens in city limits in order to inform them of proper chicken handling, coop cleanliness, and who to contact in the event that they can no longer raise their hens.
Raising chickens can be a great educational opportunity, providing a food source for families raising them, and strengthening sustainability in communities by localizing food and aiding in gardening by means of pest control (bugs) and supplementing compost. For these reasons I urge all members of the Sustainability Council to offer the City Council a recommendation that would allow hens within city limits.
Thank you very much for your time.

[Your Name]
123 Local Road
Brookings, SD 57006