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Movement On To Loosen Up Long Island Town's Antiquated Rules On Backyard Chicken Ownership

BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Backyard chickens are all the rage. They produce healthy fresh eggs.

But one Long Island town makes it nearly impossible for residents to own chickens.

That may soon change, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday.

Karin Capellan of West Babylon said they're not ruffling any feathers.

Her 15 chickens have been kept neatly and odor free for five years in her backyard. They provide a dozen fresh eggs every day and a sustainable way to feed her family.

Chickens
There's a barnyard battle brewing in Maplewood, N.J., over a prposed city ordinance that would allow residents to raise chicken on their property. (Photo: CBS 2)

"It's not just having a pet. It's having food on a regular basis," Capellan said. "It's great to have, to show the kids where their food is coming form. There is no food waste in this house at all. They eat everything."

Despite some clucking when the hens lay eggs, Capellan said there's no impact on neighbors. No roosters are needed.

"For me, it's not a problem. I don't know if somebody has complained," neighbor Sandy Grierson said.

Someone must have, because a violation notice recently appeared on Capellan's door.

"I have to get rid of them in seven days," she said.

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The town of Babylon only allows backyard chickens 100 feet away from any home. In Capellan's dense neighborhood, that's effectively a ban.

"No one in the town of Babylon has that much property," Capellan said. "It's not right."

Surrounding towns have rewritten their codes amid a booming backyard chicken movement.

"In the last four years I've seen it double. It's getting very popular. People want to know where their chickens are coming from, and their eggs are coming from. It's a good thing," said Roy Ryder, owner of The Barn Pet Feed and Supplies.

A petition featuring 1,000 signatures asks Bablyon to relax its code, but with strict noise and health regulations, like keeping feed away from rodents, Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer said he'll consider changes based on public feedback, but has to also consider folks who don't want to live next to a chicken coop.

"We look forward to hearing from our residents and plan on reviewing our codes based on their feedback. Our code must also uphold the town's quality of life standards for our non-chicken-owning homeowners," Schaffer said.

"I have enough dirty air around here to begin with," one resident said.

"I don't want to hear that in the morning on my days off," another added.

Capellan faces up to $500 in fines until the town re-egg-zamines its chicken code.

The Babylon town hearing on the subject will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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