Local

Push to allow to keep chickens in Houston

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How would you like a chicken coop in your neighbor's backyard? A group called Hens for Houston is trying to ease restrictions when it comes to who can and can't have chickens inside the city limits.

The story here is about the progressive grow-local movement making its way back to the city.

In the middle of the nations' fourth-largest city, feed stores are doing well and this is part of the reason why: chickens, certainly hens because they lay eggs.

"They're fresh, they're no chemicals in these girls. That's what you want to feed your kids," said Chris Blues with the Quality Feed Store.

And they roam in more than a few Houston yards.

"Most people are like, there's the chicken house. I mean they know us for the chickens," chicken owner Tammy Dickerson said.

"How many people like you do you think there are in Houston, with chickens?" we asked her.

"I think there should be more," she said.

The problem is that by city rules, a chicken cannot be within 100 feet of a neighboring home, and that's hard to do in most neighborhoods. But for a year now, there's been a growing movement to change that.

"San Antonio doesn't have a distance setback. Dallas has a very small one and they have very few chicken complaints and they've had a lot of success having urban chickens," said Claire Krebs with Hens for Houston.

Hens for Houston wants to loosen up the restrictions to allow more chickens, but not necessarily roosters. It's a noise issue, and the city is listening. Negotiations are underway.

"They put a lot of thought in to what they're asking for. They're reasonable requests so it kind of makes our job easier," said Christopher Newport with the city's regulatory department.

The city is expected to come out with a revamped ordinance for chickens within Houston city limits. Of course, the ordinance would not affect residents of subdivisions that have deed restrictions.
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