Thumbs up for chickens in backyard
by Nikki Wiley
July 17, 2013 12:16 AM | 2993 views | 14 14 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A Kennesaw-area woman got the go-ahead from the Cobb Board of Commissioners to bring chickens into her backyard Monday just five months after the board loosened restrictions on raising fowl.

Holding her toddler in her arms, Summer Brown told the commission she wants to keep chickens in her home’s .39-acre yard to teach her four children — ranging in age from almost 2 years old to 11— responsibility and to educate them about where their food comes from.

“I grew up around chickens, and I would like to give that to my children as well,” Brown said, calling chicken “great pets.”

The board approved Brown’s request by a 3-2 vote with Chairman Tim Lee and Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who represents part of east Cobb, opposing.

Lee and Birrell also opposed revising the county’s chicken ordinance in February.

A group of residents led the charge to make the ordinance friendlier to homeowners living on smaller lots after Joseph Pond of east Cobb was told he had to get rid of his hens.

The previous ordinance only allowed chickens on a lot at least two acres. Now, residents living on less land can pay $150 to apply for a zoning variance with the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

One hen will be considered for every 5,000 square feet of land. That could give a resident on a half-acre lot the ability, if approved, to keep four hens.

Lee, who says the county’s previous ordinance was adequate, doesn’t want to see hens taking over yards in residential areas where neighbors live close to one another.

Birrell echoed his statements.

“I still feel the two-acre minimum is appropriate,” she said.

The first variance was approved in June for a family near Austell.

Keeping chickens teaches responsibility, Brown said, because the animals must be fed, given water, and eggs must be collected.

Remembering a small child she once babysat who believed that chocolate milk came from brown cows, Brown told commissioners she wants her children to know how the food they eat gets to their dinner table.

“I hope to be able to connect my children more with their food sources,” Brown said.

She compared it to having a backyard garden.

“I also believe that having chickens is important for us in becoming more self-sufficient,” Brown said.

She plans to keep chickens in her yard in a moveable pen, called a chicken tractor, to allow the animals fresh grass to eat.

“I think that this is a very manageable situation for chickens in a small backyard setting,” Brown said.

Comments
(14)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
oh dear
|
July 17, 2013
Where in this small yard will her 4 children play? In the area of grass the chickens just vacated?
Connie Mack Jr
|
July 17, 2013
No doubt the Chicken Owner had a high power "Big Chicken" on ole 41 in high political circles to make it happen..
RomanChickenMan
|
July 17, 2013
Wow, so a city or county governing body does occasionally have the ability to hear a well-reasoned request and make the right choice. We need to get some of these folks together with the Rome City Commission.

By the way, $150 is still insanely expensive for the privilege of doing something on your own property which has no impact on anyone outside your property. But it's a step.
Cobb Resident
|
July 17, 2013
So Lee and Birrell were against the change of the land requirements; now they'll just oppose every new request?

How nice of them to be bitter and spiteful to the request of the residents in Cobb County.
Joseph Pond
|
July 17, 2013
The current code allows variances to be granted for hens under certain conditions and with the approval of the BZA. Chairman Lee and Commissioner Birrell made their views know when they voted against the code change. It is wrong for Lee and Birrell to vote against Variances that meet the criteria and have unamiously passed the BZA just because they do not like the code change. These Variances have the approvals of the adjacent neighbors- Lee and Birrell should have a little faith in the people directly affected. Thank God that the other three commissioners use common sense when it comes to these things, and not mule like stubbornness.
Fabian bulmkab
|
July 17, 2013
“I hope to be able to connect my children more with their food sources,”

Time for a trip to the slaughter house?
anonymous
|
July 18, 2013
My sentiments exactly. However, chicken lovers will only tell their children how this little cute fluffy ball of fur makes the eggs they eat. Only later on will they find out how the little cute fluffy balls of fur get strung up and their heads chopped off so the little children can eat chicken nuggets ground up and breaded with junk and soaked in ketchup. I can hear it now, "Yes, little Timmy and Tootsie. Old Matilda couldn't bear eggs anymore, so Mommy had to take her out in the back yard and wring her neck so you could have your little chicken nuggets for lunch. Next time Mommy will let you watch while we pluck the feathers and chop Old Matilda up." A conversation that will never take place. Talk about asking children to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Either that or a lie. "No, children, Old Matilda went to the pie in the sky. Old Matilda is different from other chickens because she lives in our backyard."
Nice Try
|
July 18, 2013
You are wrong that this conversation "will never take place." How could you possibly know? We raised chickens and goats and that conversation always took place. What happens when they are too old to give milk or eggs? Where does your burger come from?

Just because YOU wouldn't have the conversation doesn't mean everyone wouldn't.
Furry chicken
|
July 19, 2013
Ironically, most of us have more of a "rose colored" view about where our food comes from than what these children will know. If you don't grow it, you don't anything about it.
Good mom
|
July 17, 2013
Despite JoAnna Birrell's apparently wishes, with a caring mom and a good upbringing, it is very unlikely the children of Summer Brown will ever meet any fate similar to that of Tray Vonn Martin.
What a stupid
|
July 17, 2013
What a stupid and horribly ridiculous thing to say. The two situations are nothing alike.

What a way to start a Wednesday morning - with a bright light shining on the sad state of the mindset of some of those living in Cobb County.
Carol_30047
|
July 17, 2013
Why do you feel the need to bring that situation up in every conversation, no matter how unrelated? Oh! and you spelled the name wrong
anonymous
|
July 19, 2013
Ignorant. All I can say is ignorant. TRAYVON Martin did absolutely nothing wrong. Trayvon had an extremely loving mom and dad that loved him dearly and Trayvon had a great upbringing. What does that have to do with chickens and what did George Zimmerman know about Trayvon's upbringing to allow him to commit murder? I won't mention names as you did, but it is very insulting to fill in the blanks and repeat what you said in a different way, isn't it? And why did the MDJ approve your ignorant comments in response to an article about chickens? Maybe because Trayvon was slaughtered like a chicken? Again, ignorant. If you are a Good Mom, I don't ever want to meet a Bad Mom. (I think I already did.)
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides