Metro Council considers backyard chickens proposal - WSMV News 4

Metro Council considers backyard chickens proposal

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You could say chicken is on the front burner Tuesday at Metro Council. Members are considering a bill to allow the birds in backyards.

Those in favor of urban chicken coops know it may not be so easy, so they have called in an expert who goes by the nickname "The Chicken Whisperer."

Council voted down a similar bill three years ago, so supporters say they will take no chances to be heard on both the benefits and what they call the misconceptions.

For chicken owner Alyce Dobyns, her five chickens, cooped up in the backyard, seem to make life in Nashville complete.

"I'm kind of the unusual, single, old lady in the neighborhood, in which children come to my yard. They think my backyard is very magical," she said.

The proposal before Metro Council has rules attached, including a cap at six chickens per house, no roosters and a $25 yearly fee.

And the lengthy fight for supporters is also getting a bit of a boost from a bit of a topical celebrity.

Andy Schneider calls himself "The Chicken Whisperer" and travels the country with his wife and baby in tow, preaching the benefits of backyard poultry.

"And when you think about it, it's nothing new. I don't think anybody on the planet now is really more than two generations away from having chickens in their backyard as a norm," Schneider said.

For some, it is a source of food and fertilizer. But for others, the poultry is more pest than pet.

And some have expressed worry that the smell and the risk of predators could play a part in property values.

Those in favor of the proposal don't buy those claims.

"I know I could have five incredibly large dogs in my little backyard and there's no issue about it. And they would bark all night, you know, whatever. But the chickens go to bed at night. They're quiet," Dobyns said.

Supporters plan several educational programs across town in the next few weeks.

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