Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2012

City officials tell Orscheln Farm and Home it can’t sell chickens or ducks from its Lawrence store

May 3, 2012


You don’t want to fool around with fowl.

At least when it comes to interpreting the law, that’s the position city attorneys are taking. City officials confirmed on Thursday that they have notified Orscheln Farm and Home, 1541 E. 23rd St., that its long-standing practice of selling young chickens and ducks from its store is in violation of a city code crafted to regulate the raising of chickens in residential backyards.

The store, which has been hosting its annual Chick Days Sale for more than a decade, abruptly ended the sale in mid-April — about two weeks earlier than normal — after the city notified the store it was in violation.

“It has been quite a loss in revenue and it has been quite a loss for our customers, too,” Jamie Knabe, an assistant manager at Orscheln, said.

Assistant City Attorney Chad Sublet said inspectors with the city’s Animal Control Division inspected Orscheln’s indoor coops that house the baby chickens and ducks after a citizen inquiry was made.

Sublet said he reviewed the city law related to legally housing chickens in the city limits and felt it left him no room to grant an exemption for Orscheln. The issue comes up just a few weeks after the city receive significant publicity by strictly interpreting the law to prevent a local artist from publicly slaughtering chickens as part of an art exhibit. The city attorney’s office also cited the law to stop the artist from creating a public display of live chickens in a coop.

“We felt like we needed to be consistent, especially after that issue,” Sublet said. The city’s ordinance regarding the keeping of chickens, however, was crafted to accommodate residents who wanted to raise chickens in a residential neighborhood. The ordinance requires indoor coops to provide at least 10 square feet of space per chicken. For a commercial business that may have 200 chicks in their store, that would require 2,000 square feet of space — a size larger than many houses — devoted to chickens.

The city ordinance also doesn’t make any distinction between full grown chickens and chicks, nor does the ordinance create standards for businesses that are located in commercially zoned districts rather than residential neighborhoods.

Sublet said the ordinance doesn’t contain any language that authorizes his office to grant an exception to the law.

Sublet said it is his understanding that animal control officers did not find any particular problems related to the care or health of the chicks. He said he has told an attorney with Orscheln that the company can ask the City Commission to rewrite the ordinance to allow for such chick sales in the future.

“We’re definitely open to discussions about tweaking the ordinance,” Sublet said.

An attempt to reach an official at Orscheln’s corporate office wasn’t successful on Thursday.

— City reporter Chad Lawhorn can be reached at 832-6362. Follow him at


CLARKKENT 5 years, 7 months ago



Eugehne Normandin 5 years, 7 months ago

what the f667k is this for real welcome to the new Johnson county

doc1 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually the Tractor Supply off 119th street still sells them so it's just a Lawrence thing.

John Hamm 5 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone, anyone at all at City Hall have their brains turned on? I can't believe how petty Lawrence has become under it's current Council and "Leadership" at City Hall. Someone there, pretty high up, should go and go soon!

billbodiggens 5 years, 7 months ago

Great Post.. I also was wondering about the placenta thing. . .

BruceWayne 5 years, 7 months ago

No, but you CAN put down fake grass after being told no. The problem here is not chickens and ducks. The problem is Core-less and Cram-well.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

Can I keep real chickens on my fake grass?

jayhawks911 5 years, 7 months ago

This is absurd and a infringement on the rights of any farm store. How many years have they been selling their chicks and what problem did they ever create?

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like the chickens have come home to roost. If they would have had their ducks in a row this all could have been avoided.

patkindle 5 years, 7 months ago

after a citizen inquiry was made. ? we have another layabout with sailboat fuel for brains does the citystaff have ay common sense? where are the commissioners? are they all too busy spending our money on rec centers?

orsclhens has been selling chicks every year for years, this is just a stupid cop out by city staff

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 7 months ago

More government, more government, more government...

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

The city should have shown Orscheln some way to get a temporary exemption until the clarification could be made permanent. Selling chicks in the city limits has been done pretty much ever since Lawrence was founded. If you're going to be stupid, be stupid about enforcing a law that is clearly in need of being rewritten rather than making a business activity with clear precedent suffer.

Furthermore, the city staff should be instructed to come up with the language that exempts farm stores from the existing law, which was clearly written for raising and keeping chickens for meat and eggs, not for prohibiting farm stores from selling baby fowl of all kinds. Orscheln's should not have been told to come up with the law exemption--that's the city's job. That's just wrong on top of wrong.

pace 5 years, 7 months ago

We are sending people to Bonner springs to buy their young chickens and ducks. It must be the, out of their mind control freaks who , when faced with enforcing the code, they choose to pop it on the business or citizens rather than first run a memo to the commissioners. They don't like to communicate, so they don't. Instead they surprise businesses, citizens, and commissioners. Corliss has not done a good job of cleaning up that department's anti public culture. A lot of old rotten apples in that basket. The lack of communication and egotistical power trips that department has been on, has been out of control for a long time.

patkindle 5 years, 7 months ago

To show how ridiculous the city of Lawrence is They allow the flamingo to sell chicks But not orschelns The "bird" is outside the city limits No wonder tractor supply built out side Welcome to Lawrence But only if If you are homeless, or a starving artist And not trying to run a legit business That pays taxes and supports the city

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

The problem is with the recently passed law on backyard chickens. Obviously, no one considered the Orscheln chick sale when it was written.

But the law is the law, and until it's changed, city officials really don't have much legitimate choice about enforcing it. Let's hope the city staff and commission can rectify this before next year's chick sale.

Boog Highberger 5 years, 7 months ago

Mick-- They should rectify this tomorrow. This was absolutely not the intent of the commission when it passed the chicken ordinance.

impska 5 years, 7 months ago

They absolutely had a choice. Someone could have said "We'll look into it. We need to determine if the law applies to a farm supply store/chicks." Then they could simply clarify the language at the next meeting.

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 7 months ago

Modern mamby-pambys with no connection with the real world. Any attempt by folks to be even partly self-sufficient is regarded as dangerous and threatening to their big-government modern society.

cowboy 5 years, 7 months ago

RFQ City of Lawrence requesting bids for one ounce of common sense , please forward bids to Chad Sublet , City Attorneys Office ,

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 7 months ago

So far this month our government has: - Shut down Orschein's chick sales - Trying to close Taste bar because it attracts blacks - Busted a bunch of college kids for drinking in their own house (while the federal government ships adults the same age to war) - told a hotel it cannot build on land zoned for a hotel - closed down a trailer park, forcing a bunch of families to be homeless

When does government stop? If they try to tell me I cannot own a gun, then there will be problems...

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

I can't name sources but I'm pretty sure Shots is next on the list to go.

doc1 5 years, 7 months ago

actually shutting down any trailer park is good.

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 7 months ago

Government shouldn't be making people homeless. I agree it was a terrible park and living conditions, but now there are homeless families with kids. If the government wanted it shut down, they should have helped relocate the families before locking their doors and throwing their belongings in the yard.

Lee Saylor 5 years, 7 months ago

Does this affect the various schools and pre-schools who have have chicks in their classrooms every spring?

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 7 months ago

Read the article: how many pre-school classrooms have more than one chicken per 10 sq ft?

MarcoPogo 5 years, 7 months ago

The ones where all of the eggs hatch at roughly the same time. That's pretty much the point of "chicks on display" in classrooms. It's not until further down the road that they get separated.

littlexav 5 years, 7 months ago

Um, that reminds me - I never learned what happened to the chicks after they hatch. Honestly, it was like here one day, gone the next. Anyone know?!?

Tanner Stumbaugh 5 years, 7 months ago


Jim Johnson 5 years, 7 months ago

Why not name the "citizen" that was stupid enough to start this in the first place! If you name the "citizen" in these cases maybe they would think again when deciding to make a complaint. What the H does this "citizen" want this to be? Maybe Russia, Cuba, or what ever Communist country you want to name. They have no idea what they are are doing or else they do and want it that way. If you don't like what they sell in a farm store stay the H out of the farm store. What is really bad is a government willing to go along with this bullcrap, oh well I guess they started it didn't they? Couldn't you think of one other ordinance that would have applied where you could have stopped a person from abusing an animal? Oh let's just say for instance cruelty to animals, could we have tried that one maybe. Keep it up people and you will get just what you wished for, but you might not like what you get.

Come on Journal World name this "citizen". Please!

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Every city has its cranks--they are not the problem, and frankly giving out the name of that crank isn't of interest to me personally. In this case, it was the lack of imagination or leadership at the city level that could not come up with a better response to Orschelns that was the problem. Whoever approved the hare-brained idea to tell them to stop selling chicks is the real problem for not finding a way to find a temporary exemption for Orscheln until they could get more guidance from further up the ladder as to the nature of the problem and how to fix it more permanently.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 7 months ago

Anonymous tip for Mayor Schumm- I heard that Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse had more than one chicken per 10 sq ft!

xdcr 5 years, 7 months ago

Keep the "Law Dogs" out of the Post Office. I don't think there is space enough for all the baby chicks that I hear peeping in the mail room, ordered by area farmers.

backyardwino 5 years, 7 months ago

This ordinance is so backwards. Anybody that has raised chickens knows that if you keep baby chicks in close quarters, it decreases the mortality rate. Lawrence leaders need to get their heads screwed back on.

Jim Johnson 5 years, 7 months ago

Leaders? Did you call them LEADERS? That's a reach if I ever heard one.

50YearResident 5 years, 7 months ago

I guess now if a farmer has to mail order or fed-x his chickens into the city limits, each chick will have to be in a 10 ft by 10 ft shipping container box.

520dude 5 years, 7 months ago

Don't you mean a 10ft by 1ft shipping container box?

thebigspoon 5 years, 7 months ago

I am sure there are lots of laws on the books in every state that don't get enforced. Such as the one for Lawrence , Kansas that says all cars entering the city limits must sound their horn as to warn the horses of their arrival. They don't enforce this law so what is the difference in the baby chick one ??? I don't see why they can't let this one slide as well ????

sherbert 5 years, 7 months ago

This is ridiculous. We should be able to expect some common sense from our commissioners. I agree with the post above, they should have showed them some way to get temp variance until the ordinance is corrected.

KansasPerson 5 years, 7 months ago

Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry Irate citizen got in a flurry City government acted in a hurry Said "Chick sales must stop!"

billbodiggens 5 years, 7 months ago

Oh Kansas person, that might only be true in Oklahoma : )

billbodiggens 5 years, 7 months ago

And, oh yes, thanks a lot as I will have that tune going through my head all day.......

fishy81 5 years, 7 months ago

So it is okay to have a pig in the city but a farm store can't sell chickens----each chick has to have 10 square feet but the dogs and cats for sale in town get about 4-----not to mention-- it is a chicks natural instinct to group together with others, putting a chick in solitary is unnatural. Come on city hall get a grip, at least you could admit that you made a mistake and you are trying to correct it.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm less worried about the chickens being raised in close quarters than I am about city officials acting in close quarters.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

It's obvious who complained. Think about who would be bitter about chickens and know about this ordinance. Shout art!

blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

Talk about a misinterpretation of the law, misguided consequences!!! The inspectors need to "wipe the egg off of their faces" and "eat some crow". "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! Or better yet "birdbrained". Does this have any relevance to the number of Jayhawk (BIRD) students living within a certain square footage? My guess is that some of the KU dorms are "out of compliance".

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

This story is just confirmation that this city is run by nitwits.

Mark Currie 5 years, 7 months ago

I just can't see this trivial BS. To repeat from above, there is a big difference by some "artist" killing chickens uptown, than a FARM store selling to local farmers. It would appear we need to be very careful who we vote for, and who they hire.......... Before long city hall will tell us how many squares of toilet paper we can use to wipe our butt.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

You could fire half of the people that work for the city and never miss them. Same goes for the upper level management and city commission. Let's start with a recall on Schumm and Cromwell, fire Corliss and the city attorney. That's a good start.

blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

Did you notice that the small chick facing the camera in the accompanying photograph looks just like an albino Baby-Jay!

Don Zimmer 5 years, 7 months ago

Sources tell me this is a power play between com. And entrenched staff.with a union slowdown. You cannot fire someone for doing their job. An example that happened to me was while trying to clear customs with hundreds of people in line the agents were searching every piece of luggage , causing huge delays. While trying to make Lawrence more business friendly the staff is revolting. Take a look at how many times the com has had to become involved in common sense decisions,

Don Zimmer 5 years, 7 months ago

When was the last time a public employee was fired

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

it's well past time to start. I've known a fee of the people that work at City Hall. These people would last 2 seconds in a private sector job. Worthless.

blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

Where was Fred Phelps when you really need a good protest demonstration!

doc1 5 years, 7 months ago

This had got to be the icing on the cake. PROTEST THIS NOW!!!!

doc1 5 years, 7 months ago

Who knows the city Attorney's home address?

thepianoman 5 years, 7 months ago

This is an abomination!!! I think the Lawrence Government needs to butt the hell out of people's lives!!!! A perfect of example of government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong!!!! This is so wrong.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Given that contact with chickens might cause a person to contract salmonella, I hope all you anti-smoking-in-bars-because-it might-kill somebody-walking-by types fully support the law forbidding orcheln from selling chicks in a retail establishment. Good for the goose, good for the gander.

Maybe next time you'll think before you surrender your freedom.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't smoke, but the people I know that do are generally hardworking, friendly and interesting people.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

No, I think it's just about right the way it is.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

If it can be guaranteed that the bullet will not land on another persons property, everyone present legally consents and no noise ordinance is broken, people should be able to shoot their gun in the air, at their tree, at a can (not a can-a-dian) or their own heads.

I suppose there will always be people looking to dictate what consenting adults do on their own private property. Our little gang of Stalin wannabes is a good example, komrade.

Don Zimmer 5 years, 7 months ago

It would be interesting to know at what level this was originated, pushed thru and approved.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

everyone involved should be fired on the spot.

lepchun 5 years, 7 months ago

All I have to say is WOW. Does the city have nothing more serious to worry about then if chickens are being sold at Orschelns? How long have they sold them, and yet NO ONE said anything until now. Amazing, I wonder how much an attorney made off that sale? The city needs to get their head back on their shoulders and worry about more important things, like maybe lowering TAXES so people can live.

blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

These enforcers should have been around back in the 50's when we at Rusty's (where Checkers is now) used to give out chicks at Easter. We had a variety of colors: green, blue, red, orange and the every popular purple ones.

Grump 5 years, 7 months ago

This is the kind of over-reaching action by a city that results in legislative action limiting cities' authority to enact such restrictions. Other more rational, less hysterical cities should be upset with Lawrence for doing this.

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 7 months ago

Clearly factory farming is the only agriculture our city leaders support.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 7 months ago

There is more than one farm store in town. I would think an argument could be made to enforce the law equally. Now, if they have singled out one farm store with out visiting the rest... Lord help the city if I was the one singled out.

lily 5 years, 7 months ago

I would love to see the scrambling going on at City Hall trying to do damage control. They aren't "raising" anything, they are selling them for others to raise. What a joke. I am so in agreement with above postings. Fix something that is of real concern and leave the baby chicks alone. Geez.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

Why is the number of comments fluctuating down?

Enoughsaid 5 years, 7 months ago

Apparently a large farm store in city limits is now not allowed to sell chickens but if you are a connected businessman with lawyers you can perform miracles with the laws.

Cause in point, a vacant commericial lot (#51, west side on 800 Vermont). Due to the smart business owner planted a community garden, this commercial lot is valued at $30 dollars and taxes are $1.12 year. The smaller vacant lot to the south of lot #51 is valued at $182,160 and taxes are $2,739 a year.

Apparently this law was set-up for farmers so there taxes would be a reasonable amount they could afford to pay taxes on large parcels of land. I don't feel the legislators have ever intended for a commercial lot to be considered agg. I'm told there are several parcels of land that are following under these guidelines but this is the only one in city limits. What a better way to make money, buy a commercial lot, plant a garden and sell it in ten years for a commercial venture.

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

The same guy has the worst BBQ restaurant that has ever existed. Nobody eats there. Yet it manages to stay open. Some people would call a place like that a "front".

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

How about a vegetable garden...NOW!!!!!!!!!

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 7 months ago

Whats the difference between Orchellen's selling chicks, ducks, and turkey poults, vs pet stores selling cats, dogs, rabits, ferrets, rats, mice, gerbles, parrots, snakes, spiders and a whole laundry list of invasive species? How about the Humane society? Do they not house hundreds of cats and dogs? Just goes to show you how stupid the city of Lawrence is.

Honestly I trust the health of those chicks, ducks, and turkey poults at Orchellen's more than I do the animals and fish bought and sold at the local pet stores.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 7 months ago

There is no common sense at City Hall. Absolutly NONE. Planning is only in business to figure out how to say 'No' to every project rather than to find the quickest and most cost effective means! They come up with more ways for a business to spend more money!

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

I tried calling the city attorney but she's not answering her phone. Guess she's seeking cover from her own stupidity. Probally a Washburn grad.

Kevin Haislip 5 years, 7 months ago

clearly the law is out of control. and needs to be controlled ?

57chevy 5 years, 7 months ago

WOW! This may be the most important single mistake the city government ever made. For the first time since I began reading the JW, all the comments agree: City govenemnt sucks. For once, its not left vs. right or liberal vs conservative or KU vs townie, its the people vs. incompetent governement. I hope and pray that we can maintain this degree of solidarity for at least long enough to see the back of the city manager, city attroney, a commisioner or somebody in the planning department that allowed this to happen. The reason the city haphazardly does whatever the current commisioners want is that they have no fear of repurcussions. Lets all agree to vote out of office ANY elected official who feels this is not a problem or thinks a few heads shoudn't roll over this level of stupidity. One or two bureacrats lose their job and they will not do it again. Whether you are for more or less government, can't we at least agree that we are for efficient government? The inane application of local law to discourage self-sufficiency and local business should be cause for an immediate change in governmnt. "Fire Corliss" bumper stickers will be on sale at all farmers markets that sell chickens or eggs shortly

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 7 months ago

you are absolutely right. There is no political party affiliation that blurs the distinction between sound policy and bureaucratic stupidity on this one.

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 7 months ago

While we are at it, lets get rid of the HRC as well! They are just as bad, if not worse, than the people at city hall.

fanofKU 5 years, 7 months ago

Just another reason to shop somewhere other than Lawrence. With the number of businesses closing in Lawrence you'd think the City would encourage business rather than dispute it.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 7 months ago

The Orscheln store in Topeka sells them too, right on Wanamaker. Not sure I understand this.......sounds like a tempest in a chicken pot!

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 7 months ago

I can see the story of this heavy-handed overstepping of boundaries of good government quickly going national.

Randall Barnes 5 years, 7 months ago

the city wont enforce businesses flying the American flag at night without a light which is law or j-walking but they are worried about chickens ? the lawrence city communist i mean commissioners need serious help.

lepchun 5 years, 7 months ago

My question is do pet stores sell POT Belly Pigs? Is that Livestock? Totally confused.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 7 months ago

I hope all you all hold on till many heads roll. Need a thread on how deep this goes. If the supervisor or department head let this happen then they should be fired. If they claim they did not know it was happening, then they should be fired for not having control over their department. This should go all the way down to the person who actually recommended it.

Now, people outside the responsible department need to be held accountable also. Who might these people be?

Don't let this die as they will do everything they can to mis direct attention, string it out and some other things in hopes that it will go away.

Lets also remember the other things that they have crammed down our throats, the latest one being the trash service.

Frankly, I hope this stupidity of grandure goes national.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

"Mayor Schumm needs to bring the issue forward and the commissoners need to vote to instruct staff to change the ordinance asap"


countryguyks 5 years, 7 months ago

I am a Farmer and live in Douglas County! I have been buying my Chicks/Chickens for years from Orsdhlen's !

To have a few Frickin Idiots from the City of Lawrence, and the DA's office and Animal Control take all this actions about them selling Chicks is INSANE!

All the City of Lawrence Goverment involved should be Fired just based on Pure Ignorance!

I would hope instead of us just Gripping here WE TAKE THIS NATIONAL ~!


WE All need to Pull together to get rid of these Idiots that have been screwing Lawrence up for so Long and taking the cash in the pocket crooked Politic's!~

Tony Kisner 5 years, 7 months ago

Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry when I take you out in my surrey.

SpicePirate 5 years, 7 months ago

What do you want to bet the "artist" mentioned was the whistle blower? Bit of petty "If I can't do what I want, no one can"?

And... since when is killing animals in public considered art anyway? Slaughtering for food is one thing, but that's just sick.

BruceWayne 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree with the action taken. Sure, just a few chickens but the next thing you know your zebra is tearing off some poor kids arm.

repaste 5 years, 7 months ago

"Authorize the City Manager to sign a contract with Walker Parking Consultants in the amount of $30,000 for assessments, engineering services, and construction administration related to repairs to the Riverfront Parking Garage (6th and New Hampshire). The actual repairs will be bid at a later date. " Why is the city paying for this parking lot ?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

"we All need to Pull together to get rid of these Idiots that have been screwing Lawrence up for so Long and taking the cash in the pocket crooked Politic's!~"

Thank the Chamber of Commerce leadership and the real estate/building executives!

Don Zimmer 5 years, 7 months ago

Per previous postings one case where 99.99% was amazed that all political and ideology parties agreed, that it was just a matter of common sense, only mr. .001% would make this a political issue. Relax, it must be a burden to be an expert on every situation.

John Duval 5 years, 7 months ago

at one time this was an ag town.there was a [ivestock salebarn and all.what we have is a bunch of johnson county wanna b's .well take your job and regs and shove it i am not taking this anymore,.to the city officials raise your own meat and vegtables because i don't want you buying mine .p s.tell tour family regulations are to eat from now on !!!!

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