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Backyard chickens OK to roost in Maitland

Chickens at Sundew Gardens

Chickens at Sundew Gardens

Sarah Wilson

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A chicken-keeping pilot program is preparing to take flight in Maitland following the City Council unanimously approving it on first reading Monday.

Residents first clucked their case for the benefits of raising urban chickens in June, causing other neighbors to cry foul over the idea of feathered friends roosting in bordering backyards.

After months of research, city staff drafted the ordinance allowing participating residents to house four hens each for a trail period to monitor coop compliance. On Monday the Council rewrote its specifics, determining that the program would be limited to 50 homes and last 18 months.

Orlando launched a similar two-year trial program in 2012, and agriculturist Dennis Mudge with the Orange County Extension Services said the city has since received no complaints about the coops or their egg-laying occupants.

“I’ve worked closely with the 75 people in Orlando, and honestly the other neighbors don’t even know where the chickens are,” Mudge said. “…If you take the burden of all your pets, it’s going to be larger than that of the chickens in the city of Maitland.”