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Modify zoning laws to allow backyard hen keeping

This petition had 62 supporters

In response to citizens’ requests, municipalities all across America have adopted ordinances allowing residents to keep a limited number of egg-laying hens as pets within city limits. Dothan, Huntsville, Birmingham, Auburn, Mobile, Trussville, Jacksonville, and Montgomery are just a few of Alabama’s chicken friendly cities. 65% of major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, Boston, and New York allow backyard chicken keeping. However, I recently discovered while in the process of signing my son up for 4H Etowah County's popular Chick Chain project that Attalla, AL forbids chickens unless your land is zoned for agriculture and is at least 3 acres.

Why are people wanting to raise chickens, anyway? LOTS of good reasons! Fresh, healthy, delicious eggs, free of pesticides and antibiotics. Cruelty free raised food. Chickens eat table scraps, reducing municipal solid waste. Chickens produce a rich fertilizer by-product, high in nitrogen, eliminating the need for petrochemical fertilizers. Chickens eat bugs, reducing our backyard pest population. Keeping heritage chickens increases numbers of endangered breeds that have been replaced by industrial breeds; we need to preserve our genetic diversification especially in food production livestock. Backyard chickens contribute to a zero mile diet as they are as local as your backyard. Keeping chickens is an efficient food source as eggs are rated by the UN Food and Agriculture as a more efficient source of protein than the other four top sources, higher in value than cow’s milk, fish, beef, or soybeans. A chicken coop can be as small as 1 square meter (10 square feet) for a confined full grown large breed; eight chickens can fit in a coop that is only 10×6 feet. Keeping backyard chickens puts you in control of your own food source and we can access eggs year-round even when we cannot garden or in the event of disruptions in the commercial food delivery system. Chickens make great pets as they are affectionate, intelligent, and entertaining. Children and adults receive a rich education about food sources and responsible animal keeping when they keep livestock and that teaches a positive relationship and respect for food. Knowledge and respect for food encourages healthy weight maintenance. Keeping backyard chickens is a historic tradition that has been recently phased out in favor of profit driven commercial food delivery.

Hens4Attalla proposes the following changes  to Attalla's current ordinance:

1. No roosters unless zoned agricultural

2. Birds shall be kept within a secure, well maintained and clean enclosure and not allowed to run beyond owners' property boundaries

3. Enclosures shall be located no closer than 20 feet from nearest neighbor's dwelling.

4. No more than 6 hens allowed per residence*

*Tractor Supply Company will not sell less than 6 chicks and most online hatcheries won’t ship less than 5 (plus they charge a horrible shipping price- $49)

Thank you for your consideration in this matter

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