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Grassroots effort called Hens in Jax gains traction with petition to change Jacksonville backyard poultry keeping ordinance

9:37 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A grassroots effort to allow backyard hen keeping is making its way to City Council. The group Hens in Jax has already gained thousands of signatures in support of changing the city's current ban on backyard chicken coops in certain areas.

Right now, a Jacksonville City Ordinance prohibits poultry-keeping in any area that isn't zoned rural or rural residential.

Grassroots supporter Lauren Trad said hen-keeping allows residents to know the origin of their food and can be self-sustaining. The trend has made its way into larger cities across the country. In Florida, Tampa, Orlando, and even Orange Park allow chicken keeping with some restrictions.

The new proposal already has the support of two council members. Trad said the changes to the ordinance would allow those in certain residential-zoned areas to have a certain number of hens, no roosters. It would also prohibit any slaughtering of the animals as well as the sale of meat and/or eggs produced.

According to Trad, some of the most common objections to hen-keeping are noise and smell concerns as well as apprehension about the ability to control the chicken population.

There will be a public meeting on the topic March 26 at 2:30 pm at City Hall.

For more information about backyard poultry or to sign the petition to change the ordinance, click here.

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