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Backyard Chicken-Keeping Ordinance Flies Over First Hurdle

Andrew Skudder

The Jacksonville Planning Commission unanimously approved an ordinance allowing people to keep chickens in their backyards Thursday.

In 2013, the city launched a pilot program allowing 300 permits for backyard chicken-keeping. The new ordinance would expand that ability to everyone who lives in a single-family home, as long as they take a chicken-keeping class offered by the county.

Despite initial concerns of noise and smell problems, no one complained to City Hall during the program.

Genora Crain-Orth is the founder of River City Chicks, a group pushing for the new ordinance. She says one of the benefits of having your own coop is the positive effect on the environment.

“They eat any kind of leftover kitchen scraps, so I have less waste going into the landfill,” she said. “They eat bugs in our backyard, so we don’t have to worry about pesticides. It’s this whole, lovely, big circle of life.”

The ordinance still needs to pass the Land Use and Zoning Commission before going to City Council.

Photo credit: "Chicken" by Andrew Skudder is used under CC BY-SA 2.0.