Backyard Chickens

Supporters of chickens in DeKalb County want chickens in unincorporated areas.   (WSPY photo by Jim Wyman)

A backyard chicken proposal for DeKalb County has hit a road bump.
The DeKalb County Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to send a plan to allow up to ten hens at homes on less than two acres in unincorporated areas back to the Planning and Zoning Committee. They’ll look at limiting backyard chickens that are in residential areas to those next to cities that allow them.
Some board members, including Jerry Osland, are worried the current plan allowing chickens in residential neighborhoods is going to lead to problems.
“You’re also going to attract every coyote and fox around after these chickens. That’s just the way this works,” says Osland. “And when the coyotes and foxes start attacking the kitty cats and puppy dogs, this is not going to go over well.”
Board member Larry West expects complaints into the county from the neighbors of those keeping chickens and doesn’t want to start a trend of allowing farm animals in residential areas.
“Where do we stop? And by that I would mean, goat yoga seems to be pretty popular, what happens when we have now people want to do goat yoga in the backyard, they want goats?” asked West. “Where do we stop with the agricultural in the residence?”
But it was pointed out that backyard chickens are already being allowed in some municipalities in the county. The board agreed with an idea from member Steve Faivre to consider letting a city’s rules on chickens determine if they’re allowed in neighboring unincorporated residential areas.
“What I recommend we do rather than trying to wade back into all this stuff that we’ve pretty much covered already is rather than just vote this down, is to send it back to committee with a recommendation that we align this so that when it’s in a residential area next to an incorporated area that it basically comply with what that incorporated area does, which is what we do similarly with things like leaf burning and things like that,” says Faivre.
The Planning and Zoning Committee will consider the change after the new county board is seated next month.