Backyard chicken debate reaches Fort Myers city leaders

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Fort Myers City Council is debating whether to allow residents to raise chickens in their backyards.

It all started when a relative gave Anna Fabisiak two Rhode Island red chicks. She raised them and named them Norma and Claudette.

“They were my pets, they were little companions. They would follow me around as I worked in my garden,” said Fabisiak.

Fabisiak recalls the chickens’ eggs; two a day from each.

“My eggs were beautiful, dark gold, and the yolk nice and round when you broke them into a skillet, not like these factory farm eggs.”

Fabisiak says her chicks didn’t make noise,” they just coo and cluck. We have wild parrots in the neighborhood that make more noise than my two little hens.”

But someone complained, and code enforcement decided the hens must go. Fabisiak moved them to an undisclosed location, outside the city.

“I was very sad to get rid of them.”

Fabisiak now wants Fort Myers to allow residents to raise hens for eggs. No roosters would be allowed, the birds could not be slaughtered for meat, and they must have clean and dry coops.

Fort Myers resident Leta Hamm says she grew up on a farm and thinks it’s a great idea, except for one drawback, “you’re going to smell them if you’re very close, that’s what I would say.”

Fabiasak says odor was never a problem, she envisions the day when Norma and Claudette can return, “I sincerely hope they give a ‘yes’ so I can have my girls back.”

City council unanimously approved the idea Monday night, it now heads to a public hearing in a few weeks followed by a final vote. There would be a two year trial period for the hens, and there may be an exception for gated communities and homeowners associations.


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