Ellen Smith for Oak Ridge Rotating Header Image

Chickens or not?

Following up to my earlier post on chickens… Today’s Oak Ridger reports that the 5 Planning Commission members who attended last week’s work session were negative about the idea of allowing chickens in residential neighborhoods.  I wasn’t able to attend the meeting and I haven’t yet seen what staff presented to them. However,  I do know that there was no advance publicity of the meeting’s topic (unless you count this blog) so there may have been no interested citizens at the meeting,  and it’s apparent from the article that staff presented the idea in negative terms (saying it was  supported by only a “handful of people” and raising concerns about the workload for enforcement and licensing and permitting).

If chickens are going to come to Oak Ridge to roost or lay eggs, people with interest and knowledge of chicken-rearing are going to have to sit down for a two-way discussion with the planning commissioners and staff. The newspaper says the topic will be addressed by the full Planning Commission at its February 25th meeting (5:30 pm in the City courtroom); based on what I know of the subject and what I read in the newspaper reports, I think it’s premature for the Commission to take any final action on this.

Follow-up (written on Wednesday): Community Development staff provided me with a copy of the written material provided to the committee; it included copies of the text of a couple of e-mails I had received from citizens. Staff say that there were several interested citizens at the meeting. It appears that discussion at the meeting dealt mainly with broad concepts.



  1. Ellen Smith says:

    Lots of comments posted at Facebook:

    Bob wrote:
    I am negative too.

    Sylvia wrote:
    they make too much noise…I assume roosters would be allowed too

    Kent wrote:
    Maybe OR has some practicers of Santeria (a Caribbean religion involving sacrifice of chickens.)

    Margot wrote:
    No roosters crowing at all hours, please. Also, chickens cause hystoplasmosis, or some such disease.

    Ellen Smith wrote:
    Roosters wouldn’t be allowed. I don’t think any of the U.S. cities that have permitted “backyard fowl” allow roosters. (For more info, click on the link to go to my blog.)

    Margot wrote:
    LA allows roosters and also Key West. I’ve heard crowing in both places.

    Tom wrote:
    Just because you heard them doesn’t mean they are allowed. They could be “free birds” that the taxpayer has to pay to quiet.

    Margot wrote:
    Definitely allowed in Key West. The Cubans brought them over in the ’50’s. They were turned loose and now roam freely through the streets and yards, crowing at all hours…It’s controversial, but they seem to manage to keep it that way, always arguing that it’s good for tourism.

    Theresa wrote (responding to Margot):
    Did you know that beach sand has E-Coli? If you’re worried about diseases that birds carry, don’t look up ’cause they’re everywhere out there!! My vegetable plants grow very quietly and produce what I need and it helps me save money. Having a couple of chickens would do the same. I don’t want a rooster crowing and I don’t plan on slaughtering birds. I just want eggs. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    Lois wrote:
    I’m all for hens, no roosters. Hens are quiet. No more than 4.

    Margot wrote:
    OK. Growing your own food to save money and be healthy is fine with me. And yes, there should probably be a limit on number of chickens. Beach sand…E Coli? Eeeek!

    Charlie wrote:
    Has anyone considered the wildlife management issues? We have seen a coyote in the yard and heard of bobcats at the arboretum. We don’t want to encourage them with, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!”
    The increased danger to our pets would be a significant problem.

  2. Ellen Smith says:

    Another set of comments from Facebook

    Theresa wrote:
    Hmmmm. I’m gonna have to rethink that one then Charlie. I certainly don’t want bobcats in my yard. The neighbor’s dog chasing bunnies is bad enough. You certainly have a valid point there!

    Charlie Hensley wrote:
    If they eat the chickens they won’t eat the cats. I lost a cat to coyotes about 4 years ago, and there are no chickens around here.

    Martha wrote:
    Hens are quiet and harmless. I understand no roosters, but I can’t imagine why anyone would object to a neighbor having hens…we have been conditioned to mistrust the natural world and it’s not healthy, in my opinion.

  3. Ellen Smith says:

    More from Facebook:

    Lynne wrote:
    I second that Martha! I grew up outside NYC and our backyards had gardens and chickens! The evolution of no backyard birds has a class and cultural background.

    Charlie Hensley wrote:
    We had chickens at my home in a small city in WVa. They made little noise, provided fresh eggs, and were fun to watch for me as a child…but no roosters.

    Theresa wrote:
    I could use the fresh poop for my veggie garden – I planted green beans and snow pea seeds yesterday. I must agree with those in my area – as long as Little Mexico isn’t allowed to have rooster games, we’ll be ok with just hens over here.

  4. Neil says:

    I think we should allow the government to outlaw everything, add an unlimited number of addendum to municipal codes until we have no freedoms left on “our own property”.

    If you don’t want to be bothered by your neighbors and the way they live, move or learn that we should all have freedoms to live the way we want within reason (“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”). Why do so many people in this country hate liberty so much they have to make it their lifelong goal to get everything outlawed. Harmless chickens producing healthy organic eggs to eat…HORRIBLE, JUST DESPICABLE!!! Please think about asking for more and more restrictive laws before you do. We already have around 75% less freedoms than our grandparents because people are so quick to ban things they don’t like or don’t understand…even when it won’t affect them at all.

    I lived in the country with chickens running free and never got e coli, saw a bobcat, coyote, or other wildlife in my yard trying to eat the chickens.

    FEAR FEAR FEAR, make sure you pump out the BS fear to the not so smart so you can pass all these laws and make everything in life illegal! This country is headed into the toilet fast.

    Please people, think about what we are doing to ourselves in this country by letting our rights be removed one by one. We are the frog being boiled with a one degree at a time increase in water temp.

    Our children and grandchildren are going to reap what we sew…think about that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook