Roosters May Get the Chopping Block

by Clara Cain

Some Lee County residents have asked the county to pass an ordinance allowing only hens in backyard chicken projects in unincorporated Lee County. I can understand why, given it is disturbing to be awakened by roosters crowing at 4 a.m.!

This leads us to wonder: Do noise disturbance laws need to be enforced? Do we need chicken police? Does animal control enforce chicken laws? Or do we just need to practice being good neighbors?

There are many areas that prohibit all chickens due to deed restrictions. However, agriculturally zoned areas such as the ranchettes located in The Corridor allow chickens of all sexes. That makes sense when you have a house sitting on five acres; a rooster on a ranchette won’t be crowing under the neighbor’s window.

Commissioner Frank Mann made a passionate plea to the Board of Commissioners to put the matter on the agenda to allow the public to come and be heard on both sides. To listen to the public is government at its best. If you are interested, check the agendas of the Lee County Board of Commissioners.

The backyard chicken sustainability movement has flourished. People love chickens for hobbies, for fresh eggs, recycling scraps and peels, eating bugs, etc. People also love items that display their fondness of chickens. Much desired is the Italian style rooster pitcher that symbolizes good fortune. This rooster pitcher has its origin in Renaissance Florence, Italy and the Medici family.

Chickens are part of the heritage of many Lee County citizens of ethnicity. A friend from the Dominica finds it entertaining, relaxing, and nostalgic to watch her hens from her patio chair. She works in the health care field and believes in organic and healthy food. She raises, picks, and butchers her own chickens.

Of course, everyone is not willing to do that. Young people probably cannot even cut up a fryer. Maybe, however, with backyard chickens, children might develop an appreciation for chickens and eggs.

If your deed restrictions allow and you have the desire, to add backyard chickens to your property, you can buy chicks from a hatchery, local hobby breeder, or a farm store.

There are many different types of hens. I know locals currently raising Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, and Black Australorps. I raise French Copper Black Maran that happen to be Martha Stewarts’ favorite type of hen; they lay chocolate colored eggs! There are even hens that lay blue eggs. Most backyard chicken enthusiasts still love Rhode Island Reds.

The internet is full of chicken blogs and chicken websites such as My Pet Chicken. Rural King, Tractor Supply and Futurals Feed Store all have chick supplies, feed, chicks, etc. and will even deliver to your house.

Many people in the Corridor are backyard chicken enthusiasts, even if they can’t have them. Hens clucking and chasing bugs create a feeling of satisfaction much like growing your own vegetables or flower gardening. Perhaps it stems from a deeply ingrained heritage from an agrarian past that is not fulfilled by concrete and pavement.

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