Support Backyard Chickens in Ferndale!

The city's existing policy on backyard hens is so restrictive that it effectively disallows ownership for the majority of residents in Ferndale MI.  The current ordinance stipulates that :
Sec. 12-116. Keeping, housing fowl.
It shall be unlawful to keep, house or maintain fowl within a distance of 150 feet of any building or part of a building used by any person or persons for habitation other than that of the person (including members of his household) so keeping, housing or maintaining fowl. It shall also be unlawful to maintain pigeons, seagulls or other wild fowl so as to create an unsanitary condition or odor. Violation of this section constitutes a misdemeanor and is declared a public nuisance subject to abatement as provided in section 12-112.
(Ord. No. 899, Pt. VII, 10-12-98)

As the code stands right now, Sec. 12-116 effectively prohibits ownership for the majority of residents, as average lot size is roughly 40 x 110ft. The current housing distance stipulation is excessive for a small poulty flock; the 2010 newsletter from the MSU Poultry Extension recommends that a %u201Cpoultry facility should be 5 to 10 feet from any property line and at least 10 to 20 feet from a neighboring residence%u201D. Our ordinance requires 130ft more than the MSU guidelines!

Ferndale should change the current ordinance to align with the MSU guidelines, and should define proper keeping practices to ensure that we don't develop nuisance issues.

Benefits to keeping backyard hens:
-Fresh eggs!  Some hens can lay an egg every 27 hours- all without having a rooster around.
-Fertilizer.  Chicken manure is an extremely effective fertilizer for the garden.
-Sustainability.  Backyard chickens eat grass clippings and food scraps, thus keeping these products out of the local landfill by reusing them on site.
-Pest Control.  Chickens will hunt for bugs in the garden.
-Food safety.  home-grown eggs fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than store-bought eggs, they are also lesslikely to contain Salmonella. Store-bought eggs are often shipped from out-of-state, and can be legally sold when they are as old as 45 days.
-Nutrition.  Eggs from backyard hens can contain 1/3 less cholesterol, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2x more omega-3 fatty acids, 3x more vitamin E, and 7x more beta carotene.
-Animal welfare.  Chickens in factory farms are subjected to horrifying conditions.
-Education.  By keeping a few hens, children & adults alike will learn about sustainability and recycling because they will see first-hand how grass clippings, bugs, weeds, and kitchen scraps fed to chickens are turned into delicious eggs. They will also see how straw bedding and waste from the chickens improves garden soil that, in turn, produces fruits and vegetables. Instead of just hearing the phrase %u201Creduce, reuse, recycle" they will actually experience it.

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