New ordinance could allow backyard chickens in Hanover County

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Hanover County residents are one step closer to being able to keep chickens in their back yards.

Thursday night, Hanover County’s Planning Commission approved an ordinance that would allow chickens in residential areas. It’s a decision resident Steve Chippendale with Dunreath Farm agrees with.

“I don’t see where the chickens would do any harm to the county,” he said.

Chippendale has been raising chickens on his Ashland farm for years. He says the positives outweigh any of the concerns.

“Chickens provide you with a source of food. And not only just food, but its food that you know where it comes from,” Chippendale added.

Hanover resident Patrick Jett said he hasn’t heard anything against chickens.

“Individuals have said they personally don’t want chickens, but then they typically ask if I would be willing to share the eggs,” Jett explained.

Some concerns have been noise, but Chippendale said roosters are the loud birds. In fact, hens are quieter than dogs.

“Actually, a lot of chickens are quieter than cats,” said Chippendale. “There’s really not a lot of noise that comes from laying hens.”

Jett said anyone who has concerns might be thinking of the wrong kind of chicken coops.

“I think people have gotten used to maybe a big industrial where thousands of chickens are in a very small area,” said Jett.

This ordinance only allows six, all of which must be tagged.

Chippendale also said having runaway chickens in your neighborhood won’t be a problem.

“Chickens want to hang around where they know they are going to have their needs taken care of,” he said. “If you have feed and water for them they are not going to want to leave your property.”

Homeowner associations are able to have stricter policies if they want.

The ordinance will now head to the Hanover County Board of Supervisors.

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