O’Fallon residents debate backyard chickens

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O’FALLON, MO (KTVI) – Backyard chicken farming has had people squawking in O’Fallon, Missouri.

After being voted down at city hall, one resident launched a petition drive Monday night to take the issue directly to the people.

Patrick Stovall, who wants purer food sources for his wife and two children and already grows a lot of his own food, was gathering signatures at Deer Run Library.

The City council already defeated a backyard chicken ordinance by a 7-2 vote last month, based on feedback from residents and homeowners associations, which are prevalent in O’Fallon.

“I think it was the noise.  It was the waste.  They just don’t want chickens in their backyards,” Mayor Bill Hennessy said.  “I heard, ‘ if they want fresh eggs, they can go to a farm and buy fresh eggs’.”

Stovall’s proposal would allow 4 chickens per person per household; no males so no crowing, less noise; waste would have to be disposed of or tilled into the soil to limit odor; and any slaughtering would have to be shielded from view.

He needs 500-600 valid signatures from O’Fallon voters to put the issue on the April ballot.

“It’s allowed all over the world:  Hong Kong, Paris, New York.  People keep chickens on roof tops in New York,” Stovall said.  “I never thought that in a town of 80,000 people you wouldn’t be able to keep a chicken in your back yard… the time is definitely coming in this country where people are demanding of the government, clean, healthy food.  President Obama wants an organic garden at the White House now.”

Stovall has until early January to get the needed signatures.

He’ll be back at the library collecting them this weekend.

Petition Drive  

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