Petition Closed
Petitioning The City of Maitland, Florida

The City of Maitland, Florida: Allow residents to keep a small number of female chickens


Other than gardening, chicken keeping for egg production is the simplest, easiest way for urbanites to supply themselves with fresh, healthy, organic food whose source is unquestioned. For many, backyard chicken keeping is a reaction to, and a rejection of, factory farming and its associated food safety and animal welfare problems.

In addition to providing a healthy, low-cost food source, chickens offer other benefits: they remove bugs, weeds, and weed seeds from the landscape; consume table scraps that could otherwise end up in the waste stream; and provide what is considered one the best organic fertilizers available.

Chickens are no more of a threat or nuisance to urban life than a dog or cat, and offer a benefit that legal pets do not: eggs - a healthy, sustainable food source. By allowing residents to keep a limited number of hens, the city will encourage stewardship of the environment and food production on a sustainable, household scale.

Letter to
The City of Maitland, Florida
The signers of this petition are requesting the City of Maitland to amend section 4.5 of its munincipal code so as to allow residents to keep a limited number of female chickens (hens).

Urban chicken farming has grown rapidly in recent years for a variety of reasons, and accordingly, hundreds of munincipalities nationwide have already updated their codes to allow backyard chickens. Other than gardening, chicken keeping for egg production is the simplest, easiest way for urbanites to supply themselves with fresh, healthy, organic food whose source is unquestioned. For many, backyard chicken keeping is a reaction to, and a rejection of, factory farming and its associated food safety and animal welfare problems. By allowing residents to keep a limited number of hens the city will encourage stewardship of the environment and food production on a household scale.

In addition to providing a food source, chickens offer other benefits: they remove bugs, weeds, and weed seeds from the landscape; consume table scraps that could otherwise end up in the waste stream; and provide what is considered one the best organic fertilizers available.

Unlike commercial poultry operations or rural farms, people in the urban areas who keep chickens as pets tend to keep them in well designed and well made enclosures. Its not uncommon for backyard chicken keepers to treat their hens like pets and to spoil them. They take such great pride in their pampered pets and backyard coops that in some cities annual tours are held to show them off. Attractive and inexpensive chicken coop kits are available online for those who are not able to build their own. Even Williams-Sonoma now sells chicken coops.
Concerns about backyard chickens are based on a few common misconceptions, as follows:

Noise - Hens are generally silent, but do make relatively low vocalizations, for short periods, and never at night or before dawn. The noise created by hens is quieter than barking dogs, lawn mowers, wild birds, children playing, or other common neighborhood sounds.

Smell - A properly managed chicken coop has very little odor. Chickens themselves do not smell. Any possible odor would be from feces, but five small hens generate less manure than one medium-sized dog. Once tilled into the soil as fertilizer, poop loses its odor.

Disease - While sometimes a problem in large concentrated factory farms, the disease threat to humans from proximity to small chicken flocks is negligible.

Property Values - Backyard chicken keeping has not been shown to negatively affect property values; NY City, San Francisco, Chicago, Boulder, Seattle, San Jose and numerous other expensive towns and cities have not seen their real estate values affected by allowing backyard chickens.

Currently, Maitland city code allows dogs, cats, and exotic birds as pets - with no fees, restrictions, or inspection requirements. Chickens are no more of a detriment to the community than these other pets and in light of this, we ask that they be afforded the same consideration and accomodation.

We appreciate your attention to our request, and we urge the City of Maitland to allow backyard chicken keeping.

Sincerely,


The supporters of the Maitland Backyard Chicken Initiative