Connellsville Health Board cries foul to chicken farms in city
Chickens will not be flying the coop in Connellsville backyards if the city's health board has anything to say about it.
After city Health Officer Tom Currey presented documented information on the dangers and health risks of free-range backyard chicken farms, the health board cried foul, recommending the city not take action to change zoning ordinances that would allow it to happen.
“We do not recommend pursuing chicken farms in the city of Connellsville,” board member Johanna Harden said.
Under the city's current zoning ordinance, backyard chicken farming is only permitted by special exception in highway commercial “C2” areas or industrial “M1” areas, Currey said.
Currey presented information he received from Internet sources, including food safety magazines and articles written about “the dangers of urban chicken farming.”
“You would need to have a lot of space just to have three or four chickens in your backyard,” Currey said. “Chickens require large coops and plenty of space to live. You cannot crowd a lot of chickens in a small space without experiencing health risks.”
A chicken coop needs to measure 6 by 12-feet and stand 6 feet high to accommodate three or four chickens, Currey said.
Chickens begin producing eggs at 6 months of age, reaching the peak of their production at about 18 months, he said.
“What would people do with the chickens after they are no longer producing eggs?” Currey asked. “How would they dispose of the chickens?
“You couldn't just let them rot in your backyard. I guess you could eat them, but you would have to cut their heads off,” he added. “They would be running around your yard with blood squirting out of their necks. Young children would be traumatized.”
Currey said chicken feces could become a health and safety issue.
“You can't just let the feces lay around in your yard where your children play. It wouldn't be safe,” Currey said. “Chickens are huge carriers of salmonella. It could make a lot of people sick if the backyard chicken farmers don't know what they are doing.”
Internet articles that Currey read indicated that chicken feed mixed with chicken feces produces arsenic poison that has sickened many people, including children.
“Some people know how to do right, but you really need to do your homework if you want to be a successful backyard chicken farmer who follows safety guidelines,” he said.
Instead of allowing city residents to operate backyard chicken farms, Harden suggested that anyone who wants to purchase fresh eggs visit a chicken farm outside the city limits.
“It's not like we live in a big city where we don't have access to chicken farms,” Harden said. “We can go to Martin's grocery store and buy farm-fresh eggs for $2 if that's what we want to do.”
Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville’s Francis Avenue paving project funding approved
- Connellsville shooting victim identified
- Connellsville’s blighted property ordinance overcomes first hurdle
- Commissioners approve tax plan for South Union plaza
- Atkins’ teachers, students to hold Summer Jam
- Connellsville — a model trail town
- New Haven Hose puts new truck into commission in Connellsville
- Defense in Connellsville teen’s fatal shooting wants suspect’s statements to police suppressed
- Connellsville man charged in shooting
- Defender plans to quit Daniels murder case in Fayette County
- Fayette County homeowner foils burglar