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Will chicken ordinance get through Edmond pecking order, or will council scratch plan?

Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family from Edmond because people can't have chickens in their backyards. [PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family from Edmond because people can't have chickens in their backyards. [PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

EDMOND — Jacey Hyde grew up on a farm with chickens. Her desire for backyard chickens was behind her family's decision to leave Edmond for a place where she could raise the birds.

Hyde is in the middle of a campaign to get an Edmond municipal ordinance changed so that people living in the city limits can have chickens.

An activist group called Edmond Urban Chickens will be at Monday's city council meeting for a public hearing on a proposed law regulating the raising of poultry. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at 20 S Littler Ave.

The law now allows chickens only on property that is zoned agricultural.

City staff members have been working with the group since May, after Lainee Copeland, who lives in the Chimney Hills housing addition, was approached by a code enforcement officer who said her six hens would have to go or she would be fined $200 a day.

Edmond Urban Chickens has collected signatures, held a rally downtown and has Facebook and Web pages. And they have been helping the city attorney come up with a draft ordinance that will be discussed by the five council members on Monday.

City Attorney Steve Murdock said the draft ordinance comes from the Norman law and input from the supporters.

Norman allows up to four chickens per household, as long as the birds are kept in fully enclosed coops. The coops must be at least 25 feet from a neighboring house and provide a minimum of four square feet per chicken.

Mayor Charles Lamb said he is willing to consider the ordinance.

“I think it will get down to the details,” Lamb said. “I am sure other questions will come up.”

For example, Lamb said the size of the land may play a role in whether hens will be permitted.

The mayor said if an Edmond ordinance allows a horse on 30,000-square-feet of land, maybe people should be able to raise chickens.

“That is where I might be coming from,” Lamb said.

‘A good experience for the kids'

The draft ordinance calls for six chickens on an undetermined size piece of property, one of the questions that needs to be determined. No roosters are allowed in the proposed draft.

Another advocate, Bethany Hutton, said there are many reasons for having urban chickens — fresh eggs, as pets and as a teaching tool for children.

Hyde said she loved her Edmond neighborhood in Chelsea Station.

The location was convenient and the owners were ready to sell the home to the Hydes.

“I just wanted chickens,” Hyde said. “How to raise animals is a good lesson for children. Chickens are your pets. They are so smart.”

Hyde is fostering four of Copeland's chickens after the encounter with the Edmond code enforcement officer, she said.

Copeland's chickens join 11 of Hyde's on their acreage in Oklahoma City.

“I love it, and it reminds me of being a kid on the farm,” Hyde said. “It is a good experience for the kids. It teaches them to be responsible, a good teaching tool.”

There is no organized opposition against chickens in Edmond. Hutton said they have encountered some opponents during their campaign to educate the community about raising urban chickens.

“I think we are moving in a positive direction,” Hutton said. “So many focus on the image of the city. I have a list of cities that are far more metropolitan than Edmond and they allow chickens.

“I think maybe the perception is that it is ‘Green Acres' or a hick town. It is far from that.”

Related Photos
<p>Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family from Edmond because people can't have chickens in their backyards. [PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]</p>

Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family from Edmond because people can't have chickens in their backyards. [PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-28fa7a1e98af2bea27f4fc4babbf3340.jpg" alt="Photo - Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family from Edmond because people can't have chickens in their backyards. [PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family from Edmond because people can't have chickens in their backyards. [PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family from Edmond because people can't have chickens in their backyards. [PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bbf8024a83d8eaa48ea834714bb8d6fc.jpg" alt="Photo - Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family because people can't have chickens in their backyards in Edmond. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family because people can't have chickens in their backyards in Edmond. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Archer Baker, 2, feeds his family's chickens at their Oklahoma City home. Jacey Hyde, his mother, moved the family because people can't have chickens in their backyards in Edmond. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-00b720e25de2dbde84f2d50691b435ed.jpg" alt="Photo - Jacey Hyde and her children, Joss Baker, 6 months, and Archer Baker, 2, feed their birds at their Oklahoma City home. " title=" Jacey Hyde and her children, Joss Baker, 6 months, and Archer Baker, 2, feed their birds at their Oklahoma City home. "><figcaption> Jacey Hyde and her children, Joss Baker, 6 months, and Archer Baker, 2, feed their birds at their Oklahoma City home. </figcaption></figure>
Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›

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