Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer and Ward 7 Councilman Skip Kelly, whose wards include the downtown and northeast areas, said if people want to raise chickens, they can already do so by choosing to live in a neighborhood with lots of an acre or larger.
Braden and her fellow chicken advocates have some allies on the council.
Ward 4 Councilman Pete White and Ward 5 Councilman Brian Walters, whose wards include south and southeast Oklahoma City, both said they would support dropping the city’s ban on chickens in smaller residential areas. White said his parents and many of their neighbors kept chickens at their Oklahoma City homes many years ago before there were any restrictions.
Walters said those who want to raise chickens aren’t asking for more than other pet owners.
"They want to follow the rules,” Walters said. "They want to teach their children responsibility, how to take care of something and where food comes from.”
Walters said the city allows people to keep up to four dogs, which could easily be louder and smellier than a handful of chickens. Braden said noise and smell are the two biggest complaints she’s heard from opponents.
She said prohibiting roosters would solve the noise concern.
"With a limited number of backyard chickens, well cared for and cleaned up after every once in a while, smell really isn’t an issue,” Braden said.
Ward 2 Councilman Sam Bowman, who has worked with Braden and city staff members on the issue, said he can’t support allowing chickens citywide but would be open to a compromise.
He said he would recommend having city staff members design a process in which the council could consider chickens on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis.