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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Free Range" Chickens Lose Battle With County

Owner Cindy Gaines to fence yard rather than "coop them up."

By Hatcher Hurd / Appen Newspapers

Milton Resident Cindy Gaines likes having her chickens running free on her 1.5 acre home on Thompson Road, but when one got in a neighbor's yard, it meant trouble with Fulton County Animal Control.

"The man drove up into my yard about 8:30 at night (May 27) and told me a neighbor had called about one of my chickens disturbing the pine straw in his yard," Gaines said standing in her front yard. "So we're building pens for them now."

But she plans to fence off the front of her yard facing Thompson so that they can still wander the yard. Mostly they congregate under one enormous fir in which they roost at night. In all about 30 chickens patrol the place.

Her land is zoned Agriculture so she didn't see a problem keeping some chickens around the place, something she always had growing up in Alabama, where her grandfather and father farmed. For five years, all was well until one wayward hen started pecking in the wrong place.

According to Fulton County Animal Control Services, Gaine's right to have chickens on her property is not the issue. The citation was issued for not maintaining control of her "livestock."

The animal control officer cited her for the 25 chickens he could count. Now she faces up to a $500 fine. Her neighbor, Preston Collett, has 8 acres behind her house and no problem with birds. He said he likes to get up in the morning and sit in his chair drinking coffee as the roosters start to crow and the hens come out to peck. "It is music to my ears, " he said.

Meanwhile, Gaines will fence the front yard, but she has already spent $600 building some pens in the back. But it goes against her grain. Gaines said she feels chickens should be allowed to roam the property.

"It is like having a garden, seeing those chickens. Why wouldn't you raise chickens letting them walk around?" she asked.

Asked if she contemplated just getting rid of them, she just shook her head. " I'm an Alabama girl. We all keep chickens. We like those fresh eggs every morning. I won't get rid of them, " she said.

21 comments:

Miltonville said...

I met Cindy about six years ago when I saw she had chickens in her yard running around. I stopped to check it out and she was the very first person I met in Milton with chickens to show me their coop and how easy it was to raise them. Really easy. So now my family, and my non-HOA neighbors get fresh eggs. No roosters mind you. We are polite. I recently attended Roswell City Hall with a bunch of other chicken lovers in Milton to give support to a guy who the City of Roswell was saying he couldn't have in his backyard. I'm so happy we can still have them in Milton. Sad for Cindy that she has to pen them up all the time, because they really are fun to watch run around. Between the roadside gardens, and farms, It's so.... Milton-ville. Don't want the "ville" to disappear from this place.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the person living next to her should fence in his property to keep things out.
Or move to "place" that has a steril environment. From the cars to the landspace even the people. They call them "subdivision". Even better move back to the concrete landscape he came from. "Milton is a distinctive community embracing small-town life and heritage while preserving and enhancing our rural character."!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

First horse?/#t,then dip?/#t now chicken?/#t.

Anonymous said...

Tim, lets have a poll to see who supports Ms Gaines and her chickens or the complaining neighbor.

I vote for the Ms Gaines and the chickens.

Anonymous said...

Julie has mounted an effort with her supporters to help this constituant so she wont have to be bothered by those awful chickens.

Anonymous said...

It's like having dogs and cats, keep 'em leashed or on your own property!
We all have a right to live where we want and to protect our property from unwanted pests. Respect the property lines!

Anonymous said...

Damn the chickens! I'm worried about the pine straw in the neighbors yard.

Anonymous said...

Is that you Straw Man?

Anonymous said...

If you don't like the rural nature of our community, get the F out!

-TA

Anonymous said...

Rural does not equate to lawlessness, cowboy!

Anonymous said...

Who are you calling a cowboy?

Anonymous said...

There is no "F" in rural nature to take out. What do you mean by get the F out? You confuse me TA.

Anonymous said...

Dont they serve these "free range chickens" at finer establishments like Milton's?

Anonymous said...

....at finer establishments like Milton's. FINER, you are jesting, right?

Anonymous said...

Ok, where else are you going to find these free range chickens to eat in the city of Milton then?

Anonymous said...

The question was, Dont they serve these free range chickens...?

Have no idea what they serve at Milton's. However, if they tell you they are free range, and you enjoy eating them, by all means continue to do so.

How would anyone know the difference between a free range chicken, aka a yard chicken, and one raised in a chicken house?

As to where else in Milton you might find them to eat, I have no idea.

MiniMiltonville said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Are the owners of free range chickens members of PETA? 'Cause it's cruel to pen up chickens!

Anonymous said...

The simple issue is that an adjoining property has the right to not have someone elses' animal trespass on his property. She doesn't have to pen them up -- she just has to keep them on her property. If she has animals running at large on her property its HER responsibility to fence them in -- And that's universal - rural-urban-suburban character doesn't matter. Its simple property rights.

Miltonville said...

Just got the call my itty bitty chicks arrive on August 11th at the Alpharetta Post Office. All different colored feathers. Fancy, not so fancy. And no roosters! Y'all can argue or order your own and join the local pet chicken club. Just ask locals Alison B, Todd, Gina, Brian and Diane M, Denise, Nicole, Melissa, Chris, Cynthia, Wendy, Mr. Charles Day, and the many other new and original Milton folks that enjoy fresh eggs every morning. And the fact that Milton still embraces "country living". For now. Hopefully always.

Anonymous said...

I had a chicken club today and it was great.....Live chickens in the mail, that's interesting.