What will Auburn do next?

Hens?

Really?

Why do people suddenly think they need to have laying hens? How much money is saved by getting eggs from six laying hens?

Does “lots of up to a half-acre” include the area a building is sitting on?

How much room is required for the hens to live?

Can owners kill and cook the hens when they are not laying?

What are the zoning rules for adding a henhouse to a half-acre lot with a building already in place?

How big does a henhouse have to be for six hens? Twelve hens?

I am disappointed councilors do not realize that a hen requires as much care and shelter as any other animal. Is there a knowledge level for the owners, or can anyone dash out and get hens?

These animals need a fenced area to roam, both for their safety and to keep them off a non-hen-owning neighbor’s property. Allowed to roam freely, they'll spread bacteria on areas where children play and they will probably try to cross the street.

I foresee owners creating a great number of “hen abuse” cases, as well as nuisance calls about poultry invading areas where they are not welcome. Will there be a citation for “not controlling hens"?

This is one decision that needed a lot more thought.

The City Council is making some offbeat decisions lately. I'm happy some of the councilors will be replaced soon.

June Chartier, Auburn

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Comments

Jeff Douglas's picture

Chicken little

i think all this talk of chickens has someone beliving the sky is falling.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

Novel idea!

You want the owner of a chicken to pass some competency test. If we required the same of the producers of human beings, the hen issue would vanish - along with most of our other problems.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

An egg purchased

in a grocery store is considered to be fresh for one year from the date it was layed.

Jim Cyr's picture

Fresh ??

I chalenge you to try a fresh egg even at 6 months from the store ! I don't believe you ever had a day old egg if you believe they stay fresh for a year. GOOD LUCK !

Jim Cyr's picture

Hens,

Have you ever had a true "fresh" egg? Not something that is maybe 8-10 days old when you get it at the store.

Joe Gray's picture

Hens - the evil menace!!!

Laying hens are not the menace you are making them out to be. There are literally hundreds of cities and towns in the country that allow the keeping of laying hens. They are fascinating birds who do some real good.

The USDA requires four square feet of floor space per bird to be considered "humane" treatment. So your answer is 24 square feet of space for six birds, or about the size of your kitchen table. A coop of that size easily fits on pretty much any lot in Auburn.

Having hens does mean you don't have to pay for eggs most of the time. Six hens will yield perhaps 3-6 eggs a day until the girls are in molt - then they will not lay for a while until they cycle back out of it.

But the point is not the money saved, it is the thrill of having another opportunity for a pet. Only this one provides you with so much more than just love in return. As with any other pet, care and feeding are required. There are countless sources of information on the internet about how to care for chickens - though it is pretty simple.

The ordinance follows the same zoning rules for out buildings as is currently in place. The setbacks are still there and nothing has changed. I am sure there will be a couple calls to police about hens on the loose, but most people will take care of the hens. Most of the calls will come from people who have closed their minds to the idea that others should be allowed to have hens if they want.

The council did restrict the number of hens (limited to six) and the type (limited to laying hens) to make the new rules fair to all residents. They didn't want noisy roosters or messy ducks and geese all over town. This was a fair compromise.

Deborah Carlson's picture

Laying hens

When I was a small child my Grandmother stopped having a hen coop on Poland Road in Auburn. The most she had was 8 and the area was big enough with the proper coop area and the yard area for them to roam all with the 'chicken wire'. These birds were so tame they would lay in her hand or my Mom's. They were beautiful and very tame.

I have had fresh eggs, nothing like them really. As far as the person that commented a grocery store egg is good for up to 1 year from the date laid, um good luck on 'stomaching' that egg. Yuck. Maybe a month after the laid date but certainly not a year.

I do not recommend getting a rooster, they multiply quickly and there is the crowing that your neighbor will not appreciate. Be prepared to take care of them just like any other pet and the weather is not always the pleasant for the cleaning out and change of the hay, etc.

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