Interest in Residential Chicken Coops on the Rise in Forest - WSET.com - ABC13

Interest in Residential Chicken Coops on the Rise in Forest

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Forest,VA- A growing number of residents in Forest want to have chicken coops in their backyards. Right now the county ordinance does not allow it, but a supervisor is trying to change that.

District 4 Supervisor John Sharp is asking the Planning Commission to take a look at this issue. He hopes showing the benefits of urban chicken coops will lead to a change in the county ordinance.

Student Mariah Reid helps keep the coop at Randolph College and says there is a lot more to chickens than eggs and well chicken.

"They cut down on all sorts of bugs, and pests. You might normally have to use pesticides or artificial chemicals," said Reid.

They eat up all the bugs, and manure from chickens can be used to fertilize grass. Sharp is hoping the planning commission will consider these benefits.

"I would like it to be a reasonable ordinance that would allow people to enjoy the use of their property and be able to do this but not necessarily be a nuisance to their neighbors," said Sharp.

Under Sharp's recommendations, roosters would not be allowed in neighborhoods. He also recommend putting a restriction on how many hens residents could own, and residents would have to keep their chickens caged.

"That would be another important part of the ordinance, they would need to be confined, fenced in backyard, or their wings would have to be clipped," said Sharp.

More than the environmental advantages, Sharp says it could serve as an educational tool for kids.

"I'm thinking as a parent I have four children. I would rather them work with their hands and get their hands dirty rather than pressing buttons on a video game in their spare time," said Sharp.

He said residents in Homeowners Associations would have to consult their HOA to see if chicken are allowed.

Building a chicken coop does cost a little up front. Depending on the type of coop you could pay anywhere from $150 and up. The Planning Commission will take up the issue Tuesday at 7 p.m. The meeting takes place at the Bedford County Administration Building.

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