A coup for chickens: City to allow birds

Staff Photo: Erin Evans. David Corley cradles one of his beloved chickens.

Staff Photo: Erin Evans. David Corley cradles one of his beloved chickens.

The man who gave an impassioned plea before the Covington City Council earlier this month will get to keep his chickens.

The council approved Monday night the first reading of an ordinance setting regulations for the keeping and raising of fowl for personal use.

Chickens will be allowed in the Neighborhood Residential 1 and Neighborhood Residential 2 zoning districts. The number of chickens will be limited to one per 1,000 square feet of lot size, not to exceed 12 fowl.

The fowl must be penned or corralled in an area at least 15 feet from property lines. Male fowl such as roosters, toms and drakes will not be allowed. Guineas and geese of any sex will not be allowed.

David Corley, who raises nine chickens on a nearly quarter acre lot on Hartsook Drive, quietly celebrated in the audience, with a wide grin and some silent hand claps. Corley came before the council on Feb. 7 after a neighbor complained about his chickens, which he calls his pets.

Corley has had several strokes and the birds have proven to be good therapy for him, he said. They also produce fresh eggs, about seven to nine per day, which he and his wife enjoy and give away to family and friends.

Senior Planner Scott Gaither said Corley will get to keep all his chickens under the new ordinance. Previously, chickens were allowed only in NR1 districts; Corley, and the vast majority of city residents, live in NR2. Also, they could only be kept on property three acres or larger, which disqualified most residential properties. Gaither said he looked at other ordinances across the country and various research materials to come up with a bird to area ratio.

"We're not talking about having a sustainable flock. We're not allowing roosters. We're talking about a few chickens to allow people to have natural food," he said.

The final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the council's March 7 meeting.