Some residents of Moore would like to raise chickens.
But the current city ordinances work against them. Essentially, only residents living on land that is agriculturally zoned can have poultry, so fresh-laid eggs from the back yard are not an option for most.
“For me, personally, it has to do with self-sufficiency,” resident Jackie Lennon said. “I was raised in a different state. I’ve had a garden since I could toddle, and we had baby chicks at the local store. When they got big enough, we’d take them to my aunt’s house, and they would finish raising them out for us.”
Though there is no official group or campaign yet to have Moore change its ordinances to allow people living on residential plots to raise chickens, Lennon is a leading member of the impromptu group. Most communication about it has occurred online, through social media and the program NextDoor.
Under Moore’s city code, the areas where poultry are raised cannot be maintained closer than 200 feet to a property line. This, in effect, rules out residential single-family and multi-family dwellings.
In contrast, Norman’s city ordinance allows the raising of “domesticated farm animals” in residential districts, so long as residents comply with regulations. One stipulates that they are to kept be no closer than 25 feet to the property line or within 100 feet of another dwelling.
“You would need a coop, where the chickens can be in and out of the weather, a clean place to roost,” Lennon said. “You would want a chicken run, or maybe a permanent one, because even though it is a city, you have cats or stray dogs that might get into your yard. You would want a protected place for your chickens.”
Lennon said she has had conversations with City Manager Brooks Mitchell. He said if the group can show there is enough local interest in changing the city’s ordinances, the council will consider taking it up.
Lennon said she believes it should be simple for Moore to adopt policies that are similar to surrounding towns.
“We think Moore, being the only one based on how the lot is zoned, it should be able to catch up with them and allow citizens to maintain their own flocks for their own personal use,” she said.
When it comes to complaints from neighbors, Lennon said she is aware there may be some concerning chickens. But done right, she said usually, the biggest complaint is that residents simply don’t know what is allowed.
“The top reason tends to be the neighbor didn’t know you could have them,” she said.
Austin Bryant is a Moore resident who used to live in Norman, and prior to that lived in an area where he was able to raise chickens. He said he would love to see Moore change its rules to include residential properties.
“Honestly, who doesn’t love fresh eggs? As long as they’re taking care of the chicken, just like any other pet, I think it’ll be OK,” Bryant said. “I always had my neighbors asking about fresh eggs, and members of my family.”