Sunday, March 27, 2011



As the law stands we cannot meet the distance requirements for keeping chickens on our normal sized suburban lot. We just sent the following letter to our councilperson and Mayor.

Mayor Rosenthal,

We are long time Norman residents and homeowners in Ward 8. We are writing to ask for your consideration in changing the zoning code in regards to chickens. While chickens are technically allowed in any zoning district, according to Section 3-501, it is virtually impossible to meet the following distance requirements on a typical suburban lot:

(3) Such animals maintained on single-family, two-family and multi-family districts are not permitted closer than:

[a]Twenty-five (25) feet to a lot line upon which is situated an inhabited dwelling, nor

[b] One hundred (100) feet to any dwelling other than the owner's

There are numerous benefits to keeping chickens. They are vigorous eaters of pests such as mosquito, grubs, and flies. They provide great, high-quality fertilizer. They dispose of weeds and kitchen scraps that otherwise might end up in the landfill. Chickens provide an affordable source of protein that is often of higher quality than store-bought eggs. They can be a way for families to achieve more food security . Last but not least, chickens are fun, friendly pets with educational value for children about where food comes from. Roosters are not necessary for egg production, and without roosters present hens are much quieter.

We researched 14 cities similar in size and population and with a university (please see attached table); many allow chickens and with less restrictive distance requirements than Norman. Twenty-five feet from adjacent structures is the most common distance in these peer cities. Many of these cities limit the number of hens and most do not allow roosters. Several have requirements that chicken coops be maintained and kept clean. We would ask you to please consider revisions to Norman’s ordinance, reducing the distance requirements for the keeping of chickens. We would welcome any additional clarification you think necessary such as, prohibiting roosters, coop maintenance, number of hens, etc.

If we may be of further assistance, or if we need to come before City Council, please let us know.

Here's the table referenced in the letter:

If you too would like to contact your councilperson or Norman's Mayor regarding chickens their contact information is here and here