In a surprise move, the Roswell City Council voted 6 to 2 to ban all roosters and restrict the number of backyard chickens based upon lot size.
Under the new ordinance, no chickens are allowed on residential lots of 1/3 acre or less. Homeowners with 1/3 to 1 acre can keep six chickens. Homeowners with more than 1 acre can have 12 birds per acre, up to a maximum of 36. Chickens can also be kept at schools. Chicken enclosures must be set back at least 50 feet from neighboring property lines. The ordinance does not regulate lots larger than 2 acres.
Chicken keepers seemed surprised by last minute changes.
Under the most recent version on the table, residents could have kept up to 25 birds in some sort of enclosure at single-family homes, no matter what the lot size. People already keeping more than 25 chickens could have obtained a permit for up to 15 more birds. That version was based largely on Atlanta’s law.
Andrew Wordes, who had led the charge to loosen up the city’s backyard chicken law, seemed stunned after the meeting. He said he has about 150 birds, some miniature sized, and didn’t know the proposed ordinance had changed.
“I’ve got .97 acre, so legally I’m allowed six chickens,” Wordes said. “I don’t see how we can have murders happening near city hall and we’re concerned about chickens.”