The Norman Transcript

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May 16, 2012

Talking chicken

NORMAN — City council considers amending code

The Norman City Council discussed a possible ordinance to allow chickens in residential areas. The Tuesday study session meeting is a non-voting opportunity for discussion and education on topics likely to come before the council in future votes.

The proposed chicken ordinance would allow chickens in R-1 areas under strict circumstances. City staff suggested guidelines to include only laying hens. Roosters would not be allowed. No more than four chickens would be allowed, according to the suggested wording of the ordinance. However, the ordinance to amend city code did not address how many total animals a person could have in a single R-1 household.

The laying hens would not be allowed free range of the yard but would need to be kept in an enclosure at least five feet away from property lot lines and 25 feet away from the neighboring residence, according to city staff recommendations.

The enclosure or coop would need to be screened to prevent the spread of disease by flies or vermin and to protect the chickens. The coop would be at least four square feet per chicken, and outdoor slaughter of chickens would be prohibited, according to the recommendation.

City council member Tom Kovach asked if the ordinance could be expanded to include pygmy goats, which he said are “innocuous animals.”

“They’re a dog-sized animal that I don’t think makes the noise of a dog,” Kovach said.

Kovach said he would like to “kill two birds with one stone.”

Mayor Cindy Rosenthal expressed concern about chicken droppings though staff recommended that chicken coop floors be of “easily-cleanable construction” and maintained in “sanitary condition not offensive or dangerous to the public health by routinely cleaning and properly disposing of droppings.”

However, enforcement would primarily be pursued, as in the case of most city code enforcement, only if neighbors complained.

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