Metro Council Takes Up Backyard Chicken Bill - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro Council Approves Backyard Chicken Bill

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by Marcus Washington

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The issue of backyard chickens went before Metro Council again Tuesday night, a hot topic that has brought a national advocate for the cause into Nashville.

The bill would make it legal for residents to keep chicken in their backyards in Nashville. Supporters say that chickens are an extension of their garden, and a healthy, renewable food source for their families. Those against the bill fear the odor and noise that backyard chickens would bring to a neighborhood.

On a crucial second reading, Metro council passed an ordinance that allows property owners up to six chickens.

Those in support of the bill got an extra boost Tuesday, when the national advocate for chickens- the Chicken Whisperer came up from Georgia to speak up for anyone in metro Nashville who wants to own the birds.

Residents like Alyce Dobyns love their chickens and love keeping them close at home. Dobyns has been raising chickens in her back yard for nearly three years.

"Aden is one of my chickens I take to The Adventure Science Museum and the children get to touch her and feel her feet," said Dobyns.

Dobyns said she uses the chickens for education and their eggs. While this may seem harmless Dobyns calls herself a rebel. Under current metro codes having chicken is illegal.

"If you really think about it, I don't think anybody on the planet is more than two generations away from having chickens in their backyard to begin with," said Dobyns.

A southern celebrity came to town to help residents like Dobyns in her cause. Andy Schneider-- better known as the Chicken Whisperer visited Tuesday and attended the Metro Council Meeting.

"When your neighbor says, 'I'm getting chickens,' people are concerned because they are thinking of a commercial chicken house with 60,000 chickens, not just six. So, you're not going to have the problems with just six that you would have with 60,000 in a closed area," said Schneider.

Schneider said he wants to let people know that allowing no more than six chickens on someone's property hasn't shown a rise in rodents or even lowering property value.

He said his goal is to educate, so that residents are allowed to do what families have done for generations.

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