EDMOND – Considering the urban chicken movement in Oklahoma City — you know, free-range, “green,” latte-sipping, skinny jeans-wearing, NPR-listening, organic grain-eating birds of Deep Deuce and the Plaza District — I wondered:
Would Edmond ever welcome back backyard yardbirds?
Little did I know I was one click away from plots and schemes most fowl: a veritable nest of outlaw chicken raisers in Edmond, at www.backyardchickens.com.
Almost exactly a year ago, on March 3, not long after the city of Norman eased its chicken restrictions, someone with the handle “clandestinechix” lay-ed down a challenge so egg-citedly that the typing and spelling cracked under the pressure:
“With the recent change in law in Norman Oklahoma to allow Urban Chickens I am looking for like minded people to help change the laws in Edmond. I am building a cladestine chicken coop on my ACERAGE which is illegal in the city limits of Edmond Oklahoma. Even though I can have horses ....I CANNOT raise even a small amount of chickens. If anyone else out there in my neck of the woods is interested in working together to get the goverment out of our business, please let me know! Powers in numbers, peeps!”
A brooding chicken storm started to form.
“I'm in! Getting ready to have illegal chickens in Edmond,” chimed in “jackiepatterson” – in his, or her, one and only post. Maybe Jackie didn’t have the legs for the outlaw life.
But “clandestinechix” was definitely the ringleader. About a month later came this post (edited this time because misspelling and bad grammar get in my craw):
“We got our hens last Saturday. I have talked with so many people and get a different answer every time as to legality. One woman I talked to who worked for the Edmond Police Department who raises hens told me they were legal as long as they were more than 25 yards from your neighbor's house and you don't own a rooster. My girls are an absolute delight! Laying an egg every day and providing endless hours of entertainment. They are a heck of a lot quieter than my neighbor's barking dog, also! Secret Chicken Owners Unite! Will post pictures of our ‘wanted’ girls soon!”
For the record, question No. 14 on a city of Edmond “frequently asked questions” webpage is “Can I raise chickens in Edmond’s city limits?” and the answer is: “The City of Edmond does not allow chickens within the city limits. The only exceptions would be for those areas that are zoned agricultural.”
Last July, “chickengal94” told a tale of city guards, a country henhouse and lousy, lying neighbors:
“We have wanted chickens for a long time now. About a year ago, we bought all the stuff needed to have chickens — brooder, coop, run, feeders, food, all of it. We kept the coop outside with NO chickens in it. We didn't even buy or order them yet! Our nosy neighbors had seen the coop and called code enforcement. Such a surprise to have a code enforcement officer knock on your door and start talking about how our neighbors called in a noise complaint that sounded like a rooster — coming from where? Our backyard. We didn't even own chickens! We told the code enforcement officer that we did not own any chickens — or roosters. He insisted that he look through our house for chickens like we were hiding them! He saw that we didn't have any. I am wanting chickens so badly but money is an issue for our family. Wish we hadn't taken the stuff back, but the code enforcement officer made us. Gosh!”
But the criminal element kept crowing. In September, “lghunt58” fessed up:
“I have kept 4 hens from the chicks we got in the spring. They have just started laying eggs. They are small chickens, but are rather loud when they lay an egg. So far the neighbors have not said anything. Most all of the closest neighbors are aware but do not mind at all. I guess we will see if the code enforcer shows up. There is really no way to keep them from doing their egg song that I know of. Considering lining the coop with egg cartons to soundproof a little!”
Who knew Edmond was such an outlaws’ roost? But this shameless sexism has to stop. Rooster boosters unite! Nature’s alarm clock — that’s half the fun of having chickens around.