Scratchy, Junebug and Ethel will not be forced to find a farm to live on or face the chopping block. They and their three sister chickens have been declared pets by the Peters Township Zoning Hearing Board and are free to remain cooped up on .3-acre lot in Venetia also occupied by a family of five.
After receiving complaints from neighbors, the township cited the Lucas family for violating an ordinance requiring livestock to be kept on a farm of 10 acres or larger. The family appealed, claiming the chickens are not livestock but pets, and Tuesday night, the board agreed.
The neighbors in the Cornerstone Court plan who had complained did not show up for the hearing. They chickened out, apparently.
“This is a new thing,” Brian Devine, the Lucas family’s attorney, clucked. “It is a trend.”
Indeed, it is. Miniature chicken ranches have been hatching all over suburbia lately. But it’s fresh eggs their owners appreciate more than the companionship of their feathered friends. Some neighbors might not give a flock, but others crow about the pounding poultry will deliver to property values.
Critics should quit their squawking. As long as the pets are exclusively hens and not noisy roosters, and provided that the chickens are not free to roam the neighborhood, they are less of a nuisance than some other more traditional pets. Free-range dogs, for instance.
Chickens do not bark or bite. They do not chase cars, dig holes, terrorize mail carriers, urinate on rose bushes or leave piles of feces on other people’s lawns.
If you can allow sleeping dogs to lie, let the chickens lay.