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Roosters get the boot in King City

Ordinance allows up to four chickens per parcel

Don't get your feathers all ruffled when you read this, but the King City City Council has approved an ordinance regulating chickens within the city limits.

The issue of chickens on the loose was brought to City Hall's attention last fall when a resident complained about the nuisance the next-door neighbor's chickens were causing.

City staff pecked away at the issue, and at the Nov. 2 council meeting, City Manager Dave Wells and City Attorney Cindy Phillips presented two ordinances for the council's consideration. Council members suggested revisions to one of them, and the ordinance appeared on the Dec. 7 meeting agenda, when the council voted 4 to 0 to approve it.

So if you have a little room in your backyard, you can set up a chicken coop and keep up to four chickens; where King City is now located used to be farmland, so this is probably not the first time that eggs have been laid on the site.

But the domestic fowl do come with their own issues, as the ordinance points out.

"Chickens, and especially roosters, are found to cause unwelcome noise, odors and unsanitary conditions which can affect the health, safety and general welfare of the public," the ordinance states.

"The purpose of this ordinance is… to regulate the keeping of chickens and to declare that violations of these provisions are a public nuisance."

Everyone knows that young birds are called chicks, but a little research into poultry keeping reveals that technically, females younger than 1 year old are called pullets, and those more than 1 year old are called hens. Only the meat is properly termed "chicken."

Nonetheless, the ordinance requires that "all chickens shall be kept, maintained, housed or otherwise located in a coop or other chicken-keeping structure which shall not be physically located closer than 50 feet to any residentially zoned real property not under the same ownership as the parcel upon which the chickens are kept."

To prevent chickens from flying the coop, "no chickens shall be allowed to roam the real property," and no chicken droppings can remain exposed on private property for longer than 24 hours, the ordinance states.

Chicken owners also must be careful that no offensive odors related to the chickens "shall be perceptible to a person of reasonable sensitivities from a vantage point located off of the premises where the chickens are located…"

People who violate the ordinance commit a civil infraction and upon conviction would be fined as required by the city's schedule of fees and penalties.

However, think of all the craft projects that could be completed using feathers and egg shells and all the deviled eggs that could be made not to mention that chicken poo makes an excellent fertilizer.

And last but not least, chickens make good pets.