Backyard Chicken Debate Heads to City Council

As I reported in today’s paper, the University Park City Council will take up the issue of backyard chickens at its Oct. 18 meeting.

The city allowed chickens —on a case-by-case basis — until 2008, when it amended the Code of Ordinances to ban all backyard fowl.

So the question is: do you want them? Not you, you, but the royal you. Would you support your neighbor having a chicken?

17 thoughts on “Backyard Chicken Debate Heads to City Council

  • June 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm
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    YES! I haven’t read today’s paper yet, so I don’t know if you explained why they reneged on the ordinance. If you didn’t say why, will you let us know in the comments?

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  • June 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm
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    Don’t care one bit as long as they don’t care that my dog will be barking at their chickens non-stop.

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  • June 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm
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    Patsy Ann- My sense is that no one had really brought up the idea for the long time, and since, by 2008, houses were bigger and closer together than when the ordinance was originally drafted, they decided to change it. This is a bit of fact and a bit of reasoning on my part, however.

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  • June 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm
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    Thanks, Bradford! If it passes, I would seriously consider gettin’ me some. That is, if my dogs and my neighbor’s dogs would behave around them. Avid Reader made a good point about the barking problem.

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  • June 30, 2011 at 11:33 pm
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    Here’s my understanding:

    FOX4 2008:
    “A resourceful 10-year-old boy who now is the last legal owner of chickens in University Park. The kid, Julius Stener, did his own computer research to find that there’s nothing in the city code to prevent this. So he petitioned the University Park City Council, which grudgingly grandfathered him in before immediately voting to close an existing loophole and prohibit any further raising of chickens within city limits.”

    D Magazine June 2008:
    “We find the recent case of 10-year-old Julius Stener—who wanted to keep chickens from a school project as pets—indicative of the UP mentality. This is a town that mandates everything from trash lids to the inches of landscaping that can encroach on your alley. Julius got to keep his chickens (an old ordinance permits fowl with Council approval), but city staff soon changed the law so these would be the last chickens allowed.”

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  • July 1, 2011 at 12:20 am
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    I am going to tie two lacrosse goals together and keep my chickens in the front yard ;D

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  • July 1, 2011 at 6:31 am
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    Well reasoned Bradford.

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  • July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am
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    Chickens are awesome, why ban them as pets? Roosters will always be prohibited in the city limits for obvious reasons, but well kept chickens are no more bother than well kept dogs. I haven’t seen your article yet either, Bradford, did you talk to the Dallas Morning News Mariana Greene? She has chickens in East Dallas and writes about them in the paper. She knows a whole lot about city chickens, what I know I learned from her. Chickens are cheap, but the coops, protective fencing and other “gear” to keep them safe and happy can be pricey. Keeping them safe is the challenge, EVERYTHING wants to eat chickens, they are the universal food. Their care and upkeep is a bit time consuming so I don’t have time for chickens at this point in my life, but in the future when I have more time I’d love to have a few chickens. The small Silkie Bantams are the cutest. If you are thinking about chickens visit the Poultry building when the State Fair rolls around in September, there are tons of different kinds of chickens.

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  • July 1, 2011 at 11:42 am
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    I see nothing wrong with keeping chickens–or whatever–as long as you live on sufficient acreage so as to keep them from bothering your neighbors. Until recently there was still a horse living in the “front yard” of a home in Lakewood–but that home sits on a largish plot of land.

    But keeping farm animals on a standard-sized Park Cities residential lot (where, as BP points out, the homes get closer and closer each year, and the surface area devoted to grass gets smaller and smaller)? Seems a little kooky and somewhat less than reasonable.

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  • July 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm
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    Kmom- I didn’t speak to Mariana, but I did interview the editor of Backyard Chicken magazine (real thing) for my initial story a few weeks ago. When I lived in DC a few years ago, the chicken issue was really heating up. Seems like we may be in for some of that in UP soon, too.

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  • July 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm
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    kmom — Glad you brought up Mariana Greene; I enjoy reading the stories about her backyard chickens & would love to have some of my own one day. Some friends in the Hill Country have them, and they lay the most beautiful & delicious eggs. I can understand limits on the number of chickens in a family’s backyard, so as long as there isn’t an excessive number, I don’t see how chickens are any worse than dogs.

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  • July 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm
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    Seriously…people have the most obnoxious dogs that bark at squirrels all day, and kids bump their ridiculous bass systems up and down Boedecker (oh how that used to never bother me). Who the hell cares if you keep some chickens in the backyard?

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  • July 1, 2011 at 8:20 pm
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    Forget the chickens! Just fix the streets & alleys! Some places look like a third world country.

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  • July 5, 2011 at 11:15 am
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    Bradford – let me try and hook you up with Mariana, you have got to see her setup and meet her cute chickens!

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  • July 5, 2011 at 10:08 pm
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    Is there a way to make your own milk in your backyard?

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  • July 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm
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    I have another one – what about bee’s? I recently learned of a local beekeeper – and it kind of surprised me that you could have bee’s. I like the idea of chickens – mostly because they are decorative and the eggs are pretty – but is it more than just a passing fancy? My yard is not big enough but for others – go for it.

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  • August 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm
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    I see my name invoked several times here. So I’ll make my introduction to Mr. Pearson myself (Thanks, kmom, for the thought). City chickens heated up here (Dallas overall) several years ago. East Dallas is city chicken central, for now. But other neighborhoods, particularly Oak Cliff, have a lot of backyard hens, too. Oak Cliff is having its own coop tour in the fall, like the East Dallas Peep at the Coops tour the past two springs.

    Dan Probst, the Poetry, Texas, farmer who has been selling chickens at North Haven Gardens for going on three years now, has offered to speak to the city council in October and also help Dominique Miller in anyway he can. But what is required is a petition with lots and lots of signatures of UP residents. That is the only way to sway City Hall. If you are willing to help Miller get sigs, you can email me (magreene@dallasnews.com) and I will forward to her. I have not asked Miller for permission to publish her contact info, but I have it and am happy to forward offers of help to her.

    For now, she is being allowed to keep her girls. The Oct. 18 hearing will decide their fate.

    Chickens are great fun and they are not a nuisance if their keeper practices standard hygiene — same as picking up after a dog in your backyard. My neighbors get lots of eggs and they bring their children and/or grandchildren over to the garden for a look and a toss of some grain or wriggly mealworms.

    UP: I hope you go for it.
    Mariana Greene
    Garden Editor
    The Dallas Morning News

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