Northeast Tarrant

These birds will start roosting in this North Texas city

She couldn’t walk to Whataburger, so she built her own with chickens

Trisha Ruiz built a a Whataburger themed chicken coop in Fort Worth, Texas.
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Trisha Ruiz built a a Whataburger themed chicken coop in Fort Worth, Texas.

Residents who want to raise chickens for the health benefits of fresh eggs or as pets will get to keep them in their backyards starting this summer.

City council voted 5-1 in favor of adopting an ordinance to allow people to have up to six chickens as long as they are kept in fenced areas and residents obtain permits from the city.

Councilman Scott Prescher, who proposed allowing people to have backyard chickens last winter, said, “I don’t have a dog in this fight; I don’t have time to raise chickens. I only worked on this (the ordinance) because people asked about it.”

Councilwoman Kim Irving voted against the ordinance, stating that she wanted to speak for residents who aren’t in favor of having chickens in the city.

“I do want to go on record for those who are not for the ordinance,” she said.

The ordinance takes effect on July 11, and people won’t be allowed to have roosters or “crowing hens.”

The chickens must be in fenced areas, and are allowed in garages when the weather is extremely cold, or they are brooding.

Jeff Raska, a Dallas County horticulture program assistant with Texas A&M AgriLife extension, told the Star-Telegram previously that owning chickens can be a rewarding experience or a “nightmare”, and that it is important for people to understand the ramifications of having the birds.

“Selective breeding has made them very docile, sweet animals. They can be attached to people or kids,” Raska said.

There are also the health benefits of having eggs from the hens because people control feeding them. But the problems come when the birds aren’t housed properly and it is important to keep coops extremely clean as chickens are clean animals, often preening themselves, Raska said.

State Rep. James White, who represents parts of east Texas, proposed legislation to loosen local requirements on having chickens. The legislation would allow people to own up to six chickens.

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