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Aberdeen officials adopt ordinance to allow chickens on residential properties

ABERDEEN – The members of the Township Council in Aberdeen Township have adopted an ordinance that allows female chickens to be kept on single-family residential lots.

During a meeting on June 2, Mayor Fred Tagliarini, Deputy Mayor Concetta B. Kelley, Councilman Greg Cannon, Councilman Arthur Hirsch, Councilman Joseph J. Martucci, Councilwoman Margaret Montone and Councilman Robert Swindle voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the ordinance.

Municipal officials said a resident must obtain a zoning permit prior to housing or raising  any chickens. The permit requires applicants to have completed an educational course about raising poultry. The only courses deemed acceptable are those completed in-person.

If approved for a permit, an annual fee of $25 will be required by the township.

Residents who receive a permit to keep chickens will be required to abide by a list of regulations intended to prevent animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions.

The ordinance prohibits the consumption, sale and slaughtering of chickens on a property. Owners will be required to construct a fully enclosed shelter that offers adequate space and protection for the chickens.

A shelter must be built in the rear yard, be at least 7 feet from the adjourning property line and 30 feet from any dwelling on an adjoining lot. Residential lots that exceed 5 acres are not permitted to raise or maintain chickens.

The maximum number of female chickens allowed is 12. Roosters and male chickens are prohibited.

To ensure that guidelines are followed, municipal officials will periodically inspect all properties for code violations.

The ordinance states that “any failure to comply with such body shall be grounds for revocation of the zoning permit permitting the keeping and maintenance of chickens.

“If the zoning permit permitting the keeping and maintenance of chickens is revoked, the chicken shelter/coop and chicken run shall be removed from the premises within 30 days of revocation of the permit.”

Aberdeen Township Public Information Officer John Roman said the ordinance was adopted in response to community members who are involved with raising chickens. He said the ordinance creates a standard that enables residents to raise chickens in a responsible manner.

“Ordinance 12-2022, which addresses the keeping of chickens on residential lots under 5 acres, was prompted because there were indeed some members of the community with chicken coops. It was not a large number, but there were a few residents keeping chickens and a few more who wanted to.

“Upon that realization, the existing coops were issued summonses through our health and code enforcement (departments). However, after further consideration and education, Mayor Tagliarini and the council members have decided that if (chickens are) kept properly, this would not be a detriment to the community.

“Our ordinance allows for chickens to be kept on properties under 5 acres, but also designates standards as to how a coop may be kept. All coops can only possess hens, no roosters, and must be fenced correctly with their cleanliness maintained.

“Violations of the specific standards put forth in the ordinance may be cause for fines and removal of the coop,” Roman said.

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