Weatherford Democrat

February 24, 2013

Fowl or fair?

City council to consider allowing residents up to three cooped up chickens – but no rooster


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH

Hoping not to ruffle any feathers, Weatherford City Council members Tuesday will consider allowing chickens to be kept in city limits.

It is part of a new “urban chicken movement.” Assistant City Manager Sharon Hayes said an amendment to the city’s municipal code, if approved, would change Title VI Police Regulations Section 6-2-14 Fowl and Rabbits to allow chickens in all areas of the city.

In recent years many communities in the Metroplex and across the country have adopted ordinances supporting the movement, according to a staff report. 

The current ordinance prohibits harboring or maintaining fowl on property not zoned AG - Agricultural because of the noise and smell associated with them.

Hayes said she began getting calls abut a year ago asking if chickens could be kept in the city. Animal control officers also received numerous complaints from neighbors saying chickens were running loose in the city neighborhoods.

When researching the subject, she found people in cities and towns across the country keeping the hens as part of wanting to become more organic.

“Many of the people raise these chickens in these large chicken coops for the organic eggs,” Hayes said. “They feed the animals organic matter. Some of these coops look very nice.”

This amendment, if approved, allows a maximum of three hens only with no roosters, which Hayes says should cut down on the noise and smell. It also provides a minimum 50-foot distance requirements from a neighbors’ property line and also states the hens must be “cooped” up. There are also restrictions on chickens running at large and on any conditions that constitutes a nuisance.

While Hayes says she doesn’t have feelings one way or another on the subject, she said she understands the wants of residents.

“If you can have chickens in Fort Worth, you should be able to have them in Weatherford as well,” Hayes said.

The council will also consider at its 6:30 p.m. meeting giving staff permission to seek grant funds to fund a pilot project that would supply popular magazines in electronic format to all libraries in the Parker County Library Association.

Library Executive Director Dale Fleeger says the library impact grant is offered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, which are designed to support library services that enhance patrons’ access to electronic information.