published Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Chickens getting ready to roost in Chattanooga

by Cliff Hightower
Should people be allowed to raise chickens in the city?

Supporters of backyard chicken coops may have have something to crow about if Chattanooga City Council members approve a new animal ordinance that allows chickens within city limits.

The new ordinance limits to eight the number of hens allowed, prohibits outdoor slaughtering, allows the chickens to be kept only at single-family homes, and sets a $100 permit fee.

Michael Mallen, chairman of the city’s Animal Control Board, acknowledged council members can amend the proposed animal ordinance any way they see fit.

“We are looking for you to fill those gaps in,” Mallen told council members Tuesday.

Hundreds of cities in the United States have embraced the idea of urban farming, including residents keeping livestock such as chickens on their property. While opponents argue that noise and smell will adversely affect property values in neighborhoods where chickens are allowed, the trend is spreading in municipalities of all sizes across the country. Supporters contend raising their own chickens allows them more control over their food supply and gives teaches families important lessons about where food comes from and healthy eating.

The council may vote next Tuesday on the ordinance.

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