From the September 2018 issue

Legalizing Backyard Chickens is Huntington Woods Tween’s Quest

Georgia Stoy, 12, here in metro Detroit is on a mission to change her city's ordinances to allow backyard chickens as pets and local source of eggs.

Huntington Woods residents might have two interesting new neighbors soon – that is, if 12-year-old Georgia Stoy can change the city ordinances preventing her from adopting two backyard chickens.

Georgia’s crusade for backyard chickens was sparked by spending time with a few hens at a summer camp and a research project that her mother, Bridget McKinley, had given her.

“I give each of the kids a summer research project, and Georgia chose the topic, ‘Why chickens make great pets,'” McKinley says. “She asked, ‘If I can get the ordinance changed, can I get a chicken?’ and I thought, ‘Well, if a 12-year-old can change the policies, I’ll have to get her one.'”

Mission: backyard chickens

Now Georgia is spending time at the library researching nearby cities that allow chickens in order to make her case with city officials. She’s also collecting information on the pros and cons of having the animals as pets.

“Some people are worried about the smell or the noise, but the fact is that chickens only make 60 to 70 decibels of noise if they’re having an egg or in danger, but dogs can reach 90 decibels,” she says. “Plus, if you get female chickens you get fresh eggs every morning, and they’re friendly.”

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Georgia doesn’t want to count her chickens before they hatch, but if she’s able to convince city officials to change the ordinance, she plans to name her chickens “Rocky” and “Bullwinkle,” after a comic she and her younger brother like to read.

In the meantime, Georgia has a word of advice for other kids looking to make waves in their own communities: “If you really feel the need to change it, then just go for it.”

Backyard chickens 101

Interested in having backyard chickens or backyard farm animals at your family home here in metro Detroit or the Ann Arbor area? Here are a few quick tips to consider.

  1. Space: You’ll need 2 to 3 square feet inside the coop and 8 to 10 square feet in the yard for each chicken.
  2. Cost: Chicks cost about $1 to $5 to purchase. Feed, bedding and supplements (like oyster shells for calcium) can add up to about $8 to $10 per month for each chicken.
  3. Eggs: Chickens lay eggs daily in the spring, summer and into fall.
  4. Legality: Check the Ferndale Chickens website to see if you’re allowed to have chickens in your community.

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