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Abigail Swindell, 7, feeds Gertrude and Margilow Monday, May 2 at her home in Sarasota.
Sarasota Thursday, May. 5, 2011 4 years ago

CLUCK makes noise at county level

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

Three months after it was successful in getting City Hall to allow chicken keeping in Sarasota, advocates are preparing to push county commissioners to OK it across the entire county.

“We’re testing the waters to see if there will be acceptance or a lot of opposition,” said Laney Poire, coordinator of CLUCK, Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping.

CLUCK wants the county to allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards in residential areas.
Currently, the county only allows them in open-use zones, which are mainly agricultural, because it categorizes chickens as livestock, not pets.

But CLUCK members say chickens are good pets for several reasons:

• They provide eggs for food.
• They teach kids about food sources.
• They provide natural plant fertilizer.

During the fight over chicken keeping in the city, opponents expressed concerns mainly about noise and waste.

But supporters said chickens aren’t noisier or messier than other pets.

“I’m sure there are going to be arguments against it,” said Robert Kluson, a county agriculture and natural resources agent. “But they are no worse than barking dogs.”

For the opponents who feared chickens will cause many problems in neighborhoods, Mayor Kelly Kirschner cited some statistics from Fort Collins, Colo., which has allowed chicken keeping for several years.

There were 12,000 animal-control calls in that city last year, he said.

But only three of those calls concerned chickens.

Poire said people in all economic levels like keeping chickens.

“There is a woman who lives behind me on (the city side of) Siesta Key in a mansion, and she has four chickens,” she said.

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com.

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