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.