new state law sets limit on number of chickens residents can keep

LYFORD — The question of too many chickens has Mayor Wally Solis crying fowl.

For eight years, the city has allowed households to keep as many as 15 chickens.

But that might be too much fowl, Solis said.

“When they run around loose, you’ve got chickens everywhere,” Solis said.

A new state law sets the limit on the number of chickens residents can keep outside their homes at six, Solis said.

Around town, he said, many residents keep chickens to help feed their families.

However, Solis wants city commissioners to review the 2012 ordinance allowing residents to keep as many as 15 chickens and roasters on lots of at least 1.5 acres.

“Fifteen chickens, I think, is a lot,” Solis said.

This past week, the city’s chicken limit became an issue when animal control officer Juan Lugo asked whether he should enforce the city ordinance or the new state law.

In response, City Attorney Rick Hoffman said the city’s ordinance supersedes state law.

Under the city’s ordinance, residents are required to keep chickens and roosters in enclosed pens, which must be located at least 300 feet from other homes and businesses.

The ordinance requires residents to keep pens “in a clean and sanitary condition so as to prevent obnoxious odors, the attraction of flies and/or the creation of any health hazard or accumulation of fecal matter or decaying organic matter.”

The ordinance also requires residents to control “animal sounds and noises (so they) shall not disturb residents on adjoining or nearby tracts of land.”

What’s the law?

City ordinance — limits chickens to 15

State law — limits chickens to 6