I wanted to share an article that came out last week. Another "win" for Urban Chicken Lovers. For now, Eugene Oregon suspends a limit on the number of backyard fowl By Edward Russo The Register-Guard Appeared in print: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 Robin Scott relaxed when she heard that Eugene officials have suspended the citys two-chicken limit. Scott and her husband keep six chickens at their Friendly neighborhood home, despite a longstanding city ordinance governing farm animals that makes it illegal for residents to have more than two hens per household. Last week, city officials suspended the two-chicken rule until the city can review the ordinance. That means the Scotts and a growing number of other residents who have chicken flocks can keep their feathered friends without running afoul of city regulations. I feel very relieved, Scott said. Eugene backyard farmers raise chickens for their eggs, meat and, yes, companionship. Most chicken-owning residents have more than two birds, said Bill Bezuk, owner of The Eugene Backyard Farmer. I might be one of the few people in town that follows the rules, he said from his store, where he keeps two Buff Orpingtons. The rule suspension stemmed from a complaint against a young couple with five chickens in the Friendly neighborhood. But the citys response also recognizes the growing popularity of self-sufficiency gardening, including backyard chicken raising by urban residents, an official said. The suspension could last several months or more, until the City Council reviews the ordinance with the idea of changing it to better fit the needs of backyard farmers while protecting the quality of life for other city residents, said Ethan Nelson, the citys solid waste and green building manager. The Friendly area is a hotbed of chicken raising in Eugene. Scott started a support network of backyard gardeners, beekeepers, chicken farmers and others 1½ years ago called the Eugene Friendly Farmers. She said she expected a handful of people to join. So far, 350 people have signed up as members on her Web site, and the number is growing, she said. The ordinance regulating farm animals in the city allows two adult hens per household in residential areas. The ordinance requires structures that house livestock to be at least 25 feet from a neighbors house. Roosters are prohibited because of their noise. Springfield allows up to four chickens but no roosters. For each additional bird, residents must have an extra 1,000 square feet of land. Eugene officials only conduct inspections when they get complaints. Friendly neighborhood residents Marshall and Katja Gause had five chickens when they received a notice from the city that they were violating the city ordinance and could be subject to a fine. The complaint came from their neighbor, longtime Friendly area resident and neighborhood leader, Nancy Ellen Locke. Locke said she did not complain about the Gauses exceeding the two-chicken limit. Instead, Locke said, she complained because roosters at the Gauses occasionally would crow during the day and at night, sometimes as early as 4 a.m. Ive had people come to my front door and let off steam at me because they thought it was my rooster, Locke said. The Gauses could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Nelson, the city official, said the complaint led the city to suspend the two-chicken limit. The city hasnt suspended the rooster ban. Once we found that there was an issue in the Friendly neighborhood we decided, lets suspend enforcement for right now, he said. Ultimately, we dont want the code to be restrictive. We want it to be positive and flexible. The suspension will give officials time to review the ordinance during a time of growing interest in so-called food security, which encourages greater local food production, Nelson said. A citizens advisory committee had recommended that the city review the ordinance regulating farm animals, Nelson said, but the City Council would have to agree before the review took place. The City Council is expected to discuss the topic sometime in the next few months, he said. Several chicken farmers, including the Gauses, flocked to City Hall Monday night to ask councilors to increase the allowable number of birds. Bezuk, the store owner, said two chickens is unrealistic because chickens lay only one egg apiece per day and a family would need more than that. Five chickens is a reasonable number for urban living, he said. Others, like Scott, say there should be no limit on chickens. The citys nuisance laws covering sanitation, noise and building setbacks should be enough to regulate chicken raising, she said. If you are managing your flock well and there is no excessive noise, no roosters, no waste problems and no smell, you should be fine however many chickens you have, she said. But if there is a nuisance, of course, the ordinance should kick in.