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County Council may not be chicken to allow more hens on residential property

St. Charles County Council members didn’t squawk over amending county animal control regulations to allow more chickens on residential property in the unincorporated area – although they did a little light-hearted pecking at the bill’s co-sponsor. But roosters? Forget about it.

The council gave a first reading to a bill at its May 29 meeting that will raise the number of hens allowed on residential lots of 10,100 square feet to eight from four. The council may take final action on the bill at its June 11 meeting.

Councilmember Joe Brazil [District 2] who co-sponsored the bill with Councilmember John White [District 7] said the reason for the change is to allow youngsters who are Future Farmers of America members to be able to raise more chickens.

Coming up with the number eight required some negotiations with county animal control officials about the care and housing of the hens. A wire enclosure with a minimum floor space of 10 square feet per hen and a height of up to six feet is required along with requirements for coops and storage of food.  Hens and eggs cannot be sold and hens cannot be slaughtered, the regulations add.

Brazil first asked 10 hens but settled for eight.

The discussion drew some teasing from councilmembers, which prompted Brazil to good-naturedly concede “… we’re talking about chickens in St. Charles County. Yeah, we’re still pretty rural.”

While Councilmember Terry Hollander [District 5] expressed appreciation for Brazil’s effort, Council chairman David Hammond [District 4] said, “The important thing is they are not allowing roosters.” Brazil agreed. “No way in heck do I want a rooster next to my house,” he said.

County Executive Steve Ehlmann noting that roosters have been banned for some time, quipped, “I thought we would have fewer chickens, not more, after we got rid of the roosters.”


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