Lee County working to draft guidelines to allow residents to own chickens

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:
Chickens (WINK News)

For Crissy Evans of Alva, her chickens on her agriculture-friendly land are like family.

“It’s a neighborhood to raise our kids in and I can have my chickens,” she said. “They’re funny. They’re just very entertaining, lovable pets and the eggs are great.”

She hopes people in other parts of Lee County can enjoy chickens in their backyard too.

“I think that there should be some rules though. Some of the structures, you know, you don’t really want to have anything that you’re just throwing together. You want to have something that’s safe for them,” she said.

Charles Edwards has tried to get the county to allow the fowl for years.

“It gives people the freedom to take care of themselves on their own property,” Edwards said.

The county is working on coming up with guidelines.

“They’ll take a look at all the issues and regulations that might make sense, whether people could have roosters or not, how many they could have and where they would be able to put them,” said Lee County Board of County Commissioners Chairman, Brian Hamman.

Experts say it’s also important to note potential costs and safety when raising backyard chickens.

“Washing your hands, making sure that you are not potentially adding to any kind of cross-contamination,” advised UF/IFAS Extension Lee County family consumer science agent, Jennifer Hagen.

The idea doesn’t have its wings yet, but it’s not cooped up either.

The county says it could take several months to draft the ordinance and get it before the community and commission.

If the ordinance is approved, it would be for unincorporated Lee County.

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