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Huntington looks to give backyard chickens more room to roam

Changes to the town law would no longer limit the maximum amount of floor space for chicken coops, based on recommendations from coop designers, officials said.

A free range chicken walks in a hen

A free range chicken walks in a hen house in Huntington. Photo Credit: Newsday File

It's for the birds.

Huntington Town officials are considering allowing more space for chicken coops on private property to give the fowl more room to roam.

The law currently allows a maximum floor space of 5 square feet per chicken on properties where chickens are kept. But experienced coop designers have told town officials that may not be the best practice, officials said.

"It’s recommended by chicken coop designers — we’ll seek to remove the maximum square footage requirement per chicken to allow chickens adequate space to move around,” Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said.

The town voted 5-0 Wednesday to set a public hearing on the issue.

Town residents who raise chickens and have chicken coops on their property made inquiries to the town asking why there was a maximum space for the birds, Lupinacci said. Town officials, not wanting to ruffle any feathers, looked at the code and decided to consider an amendment. 

“You still will have to conform to certain guidelines,” Lupinacci said. Coops will still have to provide no less than 2 square feet of floor space per chicken or duck in any pen, coop or house. The maximum of eight chickens per household would still stand.

“But this will allow the chickens more freedom to move around,” he said.

The town board voted to allow a limited number of chickens on residential properties in the town in 2009. In addition to limiting the number of chickens, the law stipulated the birds be kept in an area that is not visible from surrounding residences and streets.

The law also requires the pen or coop be cleaned daily and kept sanitary, and the sole purpose of the chickens must be to supply organic eggs without using pesticides or fertilizers. The eggs are to be for personal use only. Roosters were prohibited.

Officials are hopeful any changes would stop residents who enjoy raising chickens on their property from running afoul of the law.

The hearing on the proposed changes is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at Town Hall, 100 Main St.

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