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Commissioners thinking about allowing people to have ducks, goats on property

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jul 26, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — Ingham County city dwellers may soon be able to expand their taste of the country life.

A proposal being considered by the board of commissioners would let people living in the city of Lansing raise ducks and goats, along with chickens.

Currently, Ingham County allows people in family homes to have up to five hens if the area isn't zoned for agriculture. But now, commissioners are gathering input about expanding that to more animals which is more than just having a cute pet.

"I think it's great. It would be really nice for everyone to understand where their food comes from, and eat healthy," Joann Dowker of Dowker farm said.

The Dowker family has a lot of different animals on their farm in Ingham County, including ducks and goats. The two use the animals to make products like goat milk soap but also use goat milk and duck eggs as alternatives for people with allergies.

"A couple of our customers have cancer. So they believe that the high protein and the high quality of the duck eggs is helping them. They are doing really well on those and they are also allergic to chicken eggs," Joann Dowker added.

And with over 5,000 kids in the state's 4H program, educators are hoping this could allow even more to join. Animal science educator Katie Ockert says it helps kids build valuable life skills like financial accountability, responsibility, record keeping, not to mention caring for another living thing.

"This legislation could help give youth an opportunity who wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to have a smaller scale project like ducks or goats or chickens that are less of a financial commitment, require less space, and quite frankly are less of a time commitment as well," Ockert said.

At the Dowker farm, many the animals are free to roam the property. The two say they love being able to give them a good home, and the benefits the animals give back to them, they hope others can experience too.

"The responsibility of taking care of an animal. The pleasure of watching it grow. It's just awesome. I just think this is an awesome opportunity," Susan Dowker said. Susan also owns Dowker farm.

The Law and Courts Committee will plan to start talking about the issue this September.

Although counties have rules when it comes to livestock, township and city rules can override them. Check your local government's website before going out and getting an animal.

For more information about the Dowker's farm, click here.

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