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Backyard chickens are OK in Oklahoma City, for now

It turns out the Oklahoma City Council inadvertently lifted a restriction on keeping chickens when it passed an urban farming measure.
by William Crum Modified: May 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm •  Published: May 17, 2014

Urban chickens take note: You’re legal (for all intents and purposes) after all.

Don’t start dancing on the coop roof, though. Don’t shoot off fireworks, or go declaring independence.

It’s a good bet it won’t last.

It all goes back to last fall, when Oklahoma City’s urban chickens debate turned on an ordinance that said anyone who keeps chickens must live on at least an acre of land.

That meant keeping chickens was off limits to anybody living in a typical house, with a typical backyard, in a typical city neighborhood.

The figure was criticized as arbitrary, and no one could say why it wasn’t a half-acre, or 10 acres.

That rankled urban farming advocates who promote locally sourced food and cuddly backyard egg-layers.

The farm set thought they were good to go when the city council began considering an update to urban agriculture regulations.

Included were provisions for keeping hens, anywhere in the city. When the planning commission approved, without a whisper of dissent, urban chicken ranchers saw blue skies and sunshine ahead.

Then the city council carved chickens out of the broader agriculture measure.

New rules loosening restrictions on urban farms, vegetable gardens, compost piles and backyard greenhouses passed last December with little fuss.

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by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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