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More Backyard Chicken Coops May Come To Roost In Baltimore County

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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CATONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ)–A lot of people grow their own fruits and vegetables. Now add chicken, or at least their own eggs, to the menu.

Alex DeMetrick reports it’s a growing trend and soon may be coming home to roost in Baltimore County.

In Kevin Mercer’s Catonsville backyard, room has been made for two chickens.

“They’re easy to keep. They don’t take up much room. There’s no smell. There’s no noise. Just no roosters,” Mercer said.

That last fact is an important one to keep chickens in a neighborhood backyard.

Mercer’s is about half an acre, and it took a special variance to have chickens.

In Baltimore County, it usually takes an acre. But that may be changing.

“There’s a lot of pro-chicken people out there. There really are. I do think it’s worth considering,” said Tom Quirk, Baltimore County councilman.

So Baltimore County’s council is ordering the planning department to look into allowing more backyard coops.

“I think the planning board coming up with recommendations should consider how many feet should a chicken coop be away from neighbors,” Quirk said.

If Baltimore County eases the rules on backyard chickens, it won’t be blazing a new trail. In Baltimore City, chickens can be kept in spaces as small as rowhouse backyards.

Nearby counties also have chicken easements. But that means hens–not roosters.

Mercer’s been getting his eggs out of the backyard for three years. The Rhode Island lays brown. The Easter egg lays green.

Before it makes any changes, Baltimore County’s planning department will hold public hearings to get homeowner input into backyard chickens.

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