Backyard chickens on town’s radar

The question of whether the chickens will come home to roost will have to wait for Regina Miller-Fierke, as the Flower Mound Town Council will likely not address the issue of backyard chickens until after the first of the year.

Miller-Fierke, who owns four hens that she kept in her backyard, had to give her beloved fowl to a family friend due to a town law that prohibits livestock on smaller lots within the Flower Mound town limits.

She argues that the chickens are not livestock, but in fact poultry, and said she hopes her chickens’ absence is only a temporary situation.

“The current law says no chickens on lots of less than an acre,” Miller-Fierke said. “They don’t really have a whole lot of restrictions beyond that. Everything is kind of vague, but they do say they are to be kept in enclosures, which, most people who have chickens, even on an acre lot and bigger, let their chicken’s free range.

“That’s part of the attraction of having them is for them to eat bugs and fertilize your plants and so forth.”

There is also the fact that the chickens provide the family with fresh eggs, and she has owned them for six years, considering them to be her family’s pets.

The town’s animal board met on Nov. 29 and decided that it would recommend changes to the current legislation and Miller-Fierke said now it will come down to what that change will actually be.

“This issue is currently under consideration by the appropriate Flower Mound boards and commissions and staff is researching related ordinances in other communities,” said Flower Mound Director of Community Affairs Michael Ryan. “Once a final recommendation is made, it will be considered by the Town Council.”

“We’ve had incredible support,” Miller-Fierke said. “I’ve addressed both the town council and the animal board now, and we’ve started a Facebook page. We also had the chickens out in front of the Home Depot for the Green Days event, and we were informing people about how beneficial they are.”

Flower Mound resident Mark Glover, who is keeping Miller-Fierke’s chickens, also supports changing the ordinance to be more fowl-friendly.

“Backyard Chickens are a new trend nationally, and I have been interested in having them both for the benefits and the entertainment,” said Glover.

“Chickens are a connection back with nature and to a simpler, sustainable lifestyle for me. I enjoy watching them and interacting with them. Most of all, I love to see kids that have never been around chickens interact with them when they visit us. We garden and raise vegetables too, and use their droppings to compost.”

Miller-Fierke said the biggest concern the town council has is the question of predators, but for her, that has not been an issue.

“For the six years we’ve lived here, we have never had a problem with predators,” Miller-Fierke said.

Glover agrees, saying, “Our 2.75 acres are open, without fences to creeks and natural habitat behind us. Coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, and other varmints come through our yard all the time. Chickens put themselves up at night and go to roost, by nature. We just go out and shut their gate.

“A properly built chicken coop secures them against predators at night, when predators are most active. We haven’t had a single incident with predators.”

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