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November 16, 2012

A chicken in every yard

NORMAN — The local chicken lobby did its homework in educating members of the city council on backyard coops this week. It’s a movement that we are seeing in cities around the country.

Residents can now keep up to four chickens in their backyards with no roosters allowed. The eggs produced are a good source of local food. They also allow concerned residents more control over the food supply. The new restrictions seem reasonable and protect neighbors and the birds. The chicken coops must be at least 25 feet from any dwelling other than the owners, at least five feet from the nearest property line.

The birds are guaranteed to get a minimum size coop of four square feet and have access to a chicken run. They can be put in the coops from dusk to dawn as a protection against predators.

The regulation change before the city council wasn’t nearly as exciting as the case of Lewis, the pot-bellied pig. Longtime residents will recall Lewis’ plight. It was against city ordinance to bring swine into the city, and Lewis’ owner, a local business person, wanted to bring the pig to work each day.

That case occupied our council and city legal staff for months. And, for the record, outdoor slaughter of chickens (and pigs, for that matter) is prohibited under this ordinance.

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