Friday, May 29, 2009

Backyard Chickens, should they be allowed in Dunwoody? If yes, we may need to change our laws.

I am aware that chickens are being kept in several Dunwoody backyards and that there is an interpretation by the City which claims that they are not currently allowed. If that is truly the case, I would like to start a public discussion on the matter and then propose to correct this issue so that these residents aren't doing something that could be deemed illegal.

What are your thoughts? Do you have or know someone with chickens in their back yard? What are the Pros & Cons? Do they bother the neighbors? Any safety or health concerns? Please comment on the Blog or write to me directly if so inclined. Thanks.

The video below is regarding the City of Roswell which just legalized backyard chickens and to be fair the coop below is much bigger than the ones I have seen in Dunwoody.

Background information.

Atlanta Chicken Whisperer
AJC - Chicken Stimulus Package
Dorablog - Chicken Workshop at the Dunwoody Nature Center
Georgia Podcast Network - The Chicken Episode
Decatur - Chicks in the City
New Life Journal - People are Flocking to Backyard Coops
Terazod - Interview with the Chicken Whisperer


Kcaj said...

Hmmm, I'd thought the CoD would be cracking the whip or focusing on immediate mundane matters like sidewalks and pavement before getting into such critical issues like pet-poultry -smile-.

Anyway, where are the resources critical of backyard chickens?

As virtually everything is controlled via zoning, what is the zoning history for NOT allowing residential chickens?

What are the Board of Health and Dept. of Agriculture implications? How can we ensure only non-commercial installations in residential areas? How many chickens are typically needed for a family of 4? Should only R100 have coops of x-size or can apartment dwellers get in on the action?

So much for my 20 questions. This is going to be VERY interesting and fun to watch. Jack.

Worth Wells said...

Just so long as they dont try to cross the road.

Anonymous said...

There really is a massive backyard chicken movement currently in America. Most of the major national hatcheries (some that ship five million baby chicks a year) have been sold out for weeks! There have been chicken coop tours in cities all across America, and the Atlanta Backyard Poultry Meetup Group has over 650 members! How do I know? I'm the Chicken Whisperer. I host the nationally broadcast radio show, "Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer", a weekly radio show all about keeping backyard poultry. I'm also a contributor for Mother News Magazine, Grit Magazine, and Farmers Almanac. I'm the Founder/Organizer of the Atlanta Backyard Poultry Meetup Group (650+ members) and over 12 other backyard poultry meetup groups across America, including one I just started in London! I have more dog poop in my yard from other neighbor's dogs then they have chicken poop in their yard from my chickens! I have more cat prints on my car from other neighbor's cats then they have chicken prints on their car! I'm awake at 2:00am from other neighbor's dogs more then they have been awake at 2:00am from my hens. You do not need a rooster for fresh eggs every morning. Yes, chickens can stink just like dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, gerbals, and fish! It's all about responsible pet ownership. We are not talking about an 80,000 chicken commercial chicken house. We are talking about 6 to 12 hens in someones backyard. POWER TO THE POULTRY!

Chicken Whisperer

Scott_C said...

I think it's great if people want to raise their own food so I support allowing people to keep chickens. I think it makes sense to set some reasonable limits on the number of chickens. That is, it's ok if you are trying to keep your family in eggs, but maybe too much if you are keeping enough chickens to sell eggs. Scott

knitternall said...

I'm a big fan of chickens in Dunwoody. Fresh organic eggs, a great life lesson for kids (clean the coop, feed the chickens, bring me some fresh eggs!), and a return to self-reliance: it's all good. I think it's reasonable to limit the number of chickens, require enclosure and perhaps to restrict roosters.

JerryGarcia said...

The complaints about having chickens can be true about having anything: noise, smell, health. We have rules that prohibit yard service crews from using leaf blowers at 2 in the morning - but we don't make leaf blowers illegal. The same standards can be held with smell and health issues as well. If it doesn't hurt your neighbors - why should government restrict you? That's not the role of government... (neighborhood associations and condo rules should be the only ones who stamp on freedoms)

John Heneghan said...

Since I have received a number of replies to my e-mail account regarding chickens, I figured I would share the opinions.

1. I think we should allow chickens in backyards, so long as we have some limitations that are consistent with the number of other animals you can have, i.e. cats and dogs, etc. I doubt there would be an avalanche of people so inclined to keep chickens. But, for those that do want chickens, I think they should have the right to do so.

2. I saw on your blog that you are looking for feedback on owning chickens in Dunwoody. A friend of mine does, and you can see pictures on my blog (the link is below). If you want to see the chickens/coup/etc. (and promise not to out her!) I can check with her. Glad you are bringing this topic up!

3. If people want to have chickens, by all means they should be allowed. At least I think so.

4. I do not think backyard chickens should be allowed. My next door neighbor at one time had one duck. It was always outside and was quite noisy, believe it or not. I know someone who lived next door to chickens and roosters in Union City and they were driving her crazy. I believe chickens belong in agricultural zoning and I think that is where they should stay.

5. Great idea. Hens are wonderful, and great for kids to learn responsibility and have some connection to the earth. No roosters needed, and the neighbors won’t know except for the fresh eggs they may get. I’m all for it. We don’t want to be an ignorant “ugly American” suburb with no room for being connected with our food. In addition to the environmental and health reasons, I suspect the recent the recent interest in learning to be connected to our food and the earth is also due to our grandparents (the last living memory we have of such things) fading away: we want to recreate such things to remember our food and farm heritage before those who can teach us are truly gone.

6. I think it would be important that the chickens don't become a farm, other than that they are pet's in my book.

joggerdavew said...

It's a slippery slope. First chickens, then what's next? Goats, cows, elephants -- before you now it, Dunwoody will be a veritable animal farm!

But, sarcasm aside, how can Dunwoody's leaders nix farmers selling produce in "residential" neighborhoods as it did a few weeks ago, but now even remotely consider allowing chickens and the selling of eggs in those same neighborhoods, without appearing like schizoid fools?