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Jacksonville’s Chicken Owners Hope City Council Votes For Ordinance

Mary McIntyre

The Jacksonville City Council is set to vote this week whether city residents can keep chickens on their property permanently.

The ordinance would extend a temporary pilot program.

Genora Crain-Orth has five chickens living behind her house in Riverside. She is the founder of River City Chicks, a group that supports the rights of chicken owners.

She says she’s hoping City Council will allow residents with a permit to keep chickens on their property. The program requires chicken owners to attend a training session to receive a permit. About 300 households already have chicken licenses.

“After a long day of sitting behind the computer working all day, there’s nothing better than coming out and having a beer and sitting with the girls,” Crain-Orth said. “I mean to be blunt, it’s fun. It’s fun watching them, it’s relaxing watching them kind of scratch around.”

Fellow chicken owner Jordan Ayers says she bought chickens so her kids could learn where eggs come from.

“I just didn’t like that my kids thought that all of their food just came from the store,” Ayers said. “They didn’t know it came from a source and that you have to care for the source.”

City Council plans to vote whether to make the program permanent Tuesday evening.