Ruffled feathers? Kentucky city debates allowing chicken in city yards

Published 6:19 am Sunday, April 25, 2021

There have been some important issues facing Frankfort’s City Commission recently — hiring a new city manager, the development of Parcels B and C.

And chickens.

At its last meeting on April 12, the commission discussed a current ordinance that forbids the keeping of chickens within the city limits and heard citizen comments, mostly in support of allowing citizens to have chickens in their yards.

Earl Burton isn’t one of those who supports a change.

“It seems the people most vocal about it are the ones in favor of the chickens,” said Burton, who lives in the Silver Creek subdivision. “I don’t see anyone else against the ordinance. When I talk to property owners they chuckle and say that’s the craziest thing they’ve ever heard of, but that’s as far as it goes.”

Delvin Azofeifa, who lives in the Hickory Hills neighborhood, likes the idea of raising chickens.

“I’m passionate about this for several reasons,” he said. “I grew up in Louisville, and I knew three or four people who had chickens. You didn’t know they had them; they didn’t bother nobody. You didn’t know they were there except when you saw them through the fence.

“This would allow people a modicum of self-sufficiency.”

The city currently doesn’t allow livestock, which includes chickens, to be kept in the city limits.

Franklin County allows up to five non-crowing chickens to be kept on tracts of less than five acres, with the number of chickens allowed based on the size of the tract.

There are also requirements for a fence or structure to prevent the chickens from leaving the owner’s property.

“Plenty of communities, large and small, like Louisville and Lexington, have done it, have done it successfully and done it without serious issues,” City Commissioner Kelly May said.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. We have to cross our T’s and dot our I’s and make sure we listen to both sides.”
That’s a point that concerns Burton.