Frederick County Council Makes Changes To Bill To Allow The Raising Of Chickens On Residential Properties

It’s expected to undergo a second  public hearing.

Frederick, Md (KM) Some changes have been made by the Frederick County Council to a bill to allow those with residential property to keep no more than eight chickens in their backyards, but no roosters.

For those who want to keep chickens, their lots must be at least 30,000 square feet, and no pen, stall, run,  coop  or structure may be placed closer than 25 feet away from any lot line   The legislation also says chickens must be confined to the backyard of the premises at all times.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilwoman Renee Knap introduced the amendment  which she says would deal with the welfare of the chickens. “I believe that this amendment will provide necessary guidance for homeowners who want to keep chickens in their backyards, and also be respectful of their neighbors, and humane treatment of the chickens,” she says.

The amendment would require chickens be confined within  secure outdoor enclosed areas. It  would also need to be  a covered, ventilated and predator-resistant chicken coop “that is to encompass no more than half of the enclosed area,” the amendment reads.

The coop would have a minimal floor area of least two square feet per chicken.   A portion of the backyard where the chickens are enclosed would be kept enclosed by a fence of at least four feet in height. Along with that, the bill says, the coop and enclosure should be in a “neat and sanitary condition.” The facility must be cleaned to prevent an odor from being detectable at a property line. No chickens would be ,permitted to roam outside of the coop or enclosed backyard area.

Councilman Mason Carter, who is sponsoring the original bill,  said this amendment goes “too far.” “Providing guidelines for height of a coop, square footage of a coop, height of a fence. I think that’s really over regulating a really simple part of our code,” he said.

The Council voted 5-2 for the amendment  with Carter and Councilman Steve McKay voting no.

The addition of this amendment to the bill means it must go through another public hearing.  No date for that hearing has been announced.

By Kevin McManus