, Muskogee, OK

November 28, 2012

Chickens moving to the suburbs in Oklahoma

— By CNHI News Service

NORMAN, Okla. — This college town and bedroom community 20 miles south of Oklahoma City is mostly a suburban setting.

But things may soon seem a bit more agricultural now that homeowners are allowed to keep up to four chickens in their yards, in neighborhoods where live poultry was previously off limits.

Local leaders eased the chicken laws when residents lobbied for a way to raise poultry as a local food source, amid wider concerns about environmental sustainability and food safety, said City Councilor Tom Kovach.

“The idea for this wasn’t just plucked out of the air,” said Kovach. “This has been done in cities all over the world with much denser populations than ours."Public health and odor were top of mind for city leaders who rewrote the ordinance, said City Planner Susan Connors.

Rules previously kept chicken coops at least 100 feet from the nearest home other than the owner's, and 25 feet from the nearest property line.

The new rules relax those limits to 25 feet and five feet, respectively, which means chickens may be kept on smaller lots.

They also require chicken coops to be clean, well kept and built to prevent flies and vermin. They ban outdoor slaughter of chickens. And, roosters are still unwelcome.

Those seeking the new rule say chickens are a good investment.

“We love our chickens," said Norman resident Kim Frakes, who lives on a corner lot that was already large enough for chickens. "They are part of our family."

Details for this story were reported by The Norman, Okla., Transcript.