MINOT, N.D. — Minot’s city limits remain off-limits to chickens after the city council rejected a proposed ordinance that would have allowed up to three hens in backyard coops.

A ban on chickens in North Dakota’s fourth-largest city has been in place since 1984.

“I have yet to have anybody, any citizen, contact me and say I am in favor of chickens,” Councilman Dave Lehner said. “Most are not in favor.”

Opponents worried about odors, loose fowl in the city and the possibility of opening the door to such activities as chicken fighting.

Supporters of city chickens said benefits would include food, companionship, education, bug control and waste for compost.

“Hens in the city is a very modern idea, but it is also a very old-fashioned idea, and I think that Minot (residents) can get with the times and get in touch with their heritage,” said Sara Bloom, who led the failed effort and promises to bring back the proposal once a new City Council is elected next June.

The council voted 8-6 Monday to reject the drafting of the ordinance

Jeff Dunn said he used to keep up to 15 hens on his property before becoming aware of the ban in 2004.

“My chickens were definitely quieter than most people’s dogs and cats and kids,” he said.