Campaign to restore chicken rights advances in another county

backyard chicken2Poultry on private property is one of the more contentious debates that almost always leaves neighbors with great divides throughout their communities as they play tug-a-war over property rights (which should always be the winner) and Homeowners Association covenants. The ordinances usually err on the side of “no chickens allowed,” but Thursday evening yielded a small victory in one Georgia county.

The Fayette County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to allow chickens to reside in residential areas.

The rules, which are still strict, are as follows:

  • Up to 6 chickens on the first acre of land
  • 3 chickens for each additional acre after the first, with a maximum of 12 for 3 acres

Commissioner Randy Ognio proposed higher limits to allow for enough chickens for homegrown eggs for a household, but his proposal was not approved.

Chariman Charles Oddo told Fayette County News “We’re trying to maintain the rural nature of Fayette County, and this is one way to do that.”

Many rural counties have no ordinances in place restricting backyard chickens, but semi-rural and metro areas have pushed back considerably, and out-of-control local officials, like those in the City of Roswell, have even resorted to litigation to keep chickens out.

The Fayette County ordinance is similar to that of Gwinnett County, Athens-Clarke County, the City of Sandy Springs, the City of Columbus, and the City of Canton.

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xdog
xdog

I call fowl on the anti-chicken brigade.

In Athens-Clarke, free enterprise has stepped and offered chickens for rent.

http://eldertreefarm.com/backyard-chicken-rental.html

Cody
Cody

Incredibly dangerous for these local governments to ignore the threat that backyard chicken flocks pose to an avian influenza outbreak. Hopefully, we’ll continue to get lucky and not jeopardize our state’s number one agricultural product because people want to have chickens in their backyards.

Noway2016
Noway2016

You’re concerned that a few backyard pets pose more of a problem in spreading bird related flu that the hundreds of gigantic chicken houses through out the state?

Cody
Cody

Absolutely. We know where every chicken house is. Owners and operators of chicken houses know within a few hours of infection that their birds have been infected. They also have strict guidelines about how to deal with an outbreak. That is not the case for every Georgian who owns backyard chickens. There is an active registry at the Dept. of Ag website where the state tries to keep a tally – but in the event of an outbreak, Department employees have to eliminate all birds within a specified mile radius of the outbreak. That is very hard to do when… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

Ok, I don’t know the answer to this: when was the last time an outbreak like you spoke about occurred in GA? Has there ever been an outbreak traced to pet chickens?

Noway2016
Noway2016

And are chickens the more likely to be the source of the viruses than naturally flying birds like bluejays or blackbirds? Should we remove residential bird feeders?

Cody
Cody

Waterfowl are the widely accepted carriers of the virus. Chickens, turkeys and other domesticated birds are very susceptible to the disease and typically die within hours of being infected.

Cody
Cody

Well, H5N2 (highly pathogenic avian influenza) has only come to the US over the last couple of years. In 2015, 50 million birds died in Iowa and Minnesota. All of the experts that were cited in news stories then said that it was just a matter of time before the disease made its way to the South. There’s not really an explanation for why we have avoided it. The virus prefers colder weather so the temperatures this year may have helped. But, I strongly reject the assertion that because it happened in Iowa and Minnesota, not in Georgia, that somehow… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

I appreciate your abundance if caution. Did the Iowa outbreak ever reveal a source, neaning highly packed in commercial houses or doves, sparrows and the like?

Cody
Cody

The incident in Iowa was largely in hen houses. So, yes the majority of the outbreak occurred in operating houses. The logic behind saying Georgia would be next was that the amount of recreational chickens in our state would only add another layer of risk to the overall equation. I’m not an expert on this because I don’t have a degree in veterinary science or one in emergency management. I have stated my reasons for opposing the widespread proliferation of backyard chickens and I’m sure there’s a wealth of information out there if you’d like to go into the weeds… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

No weeds. Your logic is sound.

zedsmith
zedsmith

So I shouldn’t keep 6 hens because somehow my isolated population is going to transmit diseases that already have known vectors in the waterfowl population that might cause a poultry farmer to have to cull 50,000 birds because his whole house is infected.

Sounds like someone is trying to turn their problem into my problem.

Noway2016
Noway2016

I’m asking these questions because as a kid my neighbor had many game chickens. They quickly expanded their population and they’d lay eggs everywhere! My mom had plants under the eaves of the house and I’d come out to water those plants and see hens laying on the eggs. I enjoyed the whole experience back in the day!

Ellynn
Ellynn

You enjoyed it because you didn’t have to clean out a coup or go collect eggs from under cranky hens. Been there, done that, don’t need to experience it again. Ever.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

That should slow Fayette developers of million dollar homes in private country clubs who draw up deed restricted covenants prohibiting barnyard animals like chickens. Outlaw deed restricted HOAs and farmers won’t get so much for their land, it’ll preserve the farms. The county went a bit too far if HOA’s were not exempted and where folks bought into it as a benefit.

gresham brown
gresham brown

Should we eat the dark meat or the white meat? After all, we are what we eat.