December 1, 2021

Comeback for yardbirds

Dryden weighs plan for residents to have chickens

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Brianna Timmons and her son Wyatt Allyn, 8, greet one of their laying hens Wednesday near their backyard coop in Cortland. Cortland allows residents to get a permit to have chickens. Village of Dryden leaders agreed Thursday to consider something similar.

DRYDEN — Brianna Timmons of Cortland loves the five chickens she’s able to keep in her yard because they allow her to control where the eggs she is feeding her family come from and it’s a great learning experience for her children.

“The main reason that I pushed for it is because I’ve always been conscious of what we’ve been putting into our body,” Timmons said.

Cortland allows residents to get a permit to have chickens. Village of Dryden leaders agreed Thursday to consider something similar. During a special meeting Thursday, the Board of Trustees agreed to draft a proposed law allowing residents to keep chickens in the village.

The majority of the board members said they were in favor of coming up with a proposal for the village. The example, written by resident Bard Prentice, was partially taken from Freeville’s law and lists possible parameters to owning chickens.

Included are:

• No more than eight chickens.
• No other fowl, and no roosters.
• Chickens must be confined at all times.
• Permits would be effective for one year.
• Coops would be required and must be regularly maintained.
• Must have a poultry course certificate.

Responses from a poll sent in late May to 688 residents showed mixed feelings. However, board members said the data may be skewed because comments showed some respondents didn’t read the provided example of what the law could look like.

Deputy Clerk and Treasurer Rotha Marsh said not everyone in the village is looking to have chickens.

“There’s probably only a handful of people in the village that want them,” she said.

“I’ll be surprised if six people apply for a permit,” board member Dan Wakeman said.

Survey says

A survey was sent by mail in late May to 688 residents in the village asking them whether they supported having chicken in the village. The results as of Thursday are:

• 67 for having chickens in the village
• 57 opposed to chickens in the village
• 52 indifferent to the idea
• 25 mildly opposed to the idea

For Timmons, the idea of not being able to have chickens is weird, noting she’s named each chicken and that each has come to have its own personality.

“It was so commonplace years ago to have chickens in your yard and produce food for your family,” Timmons said.

Board members Wakeman and Deb Fisher will be on the committee to draft the proposal, which they said would be discussed at a public hearing in late fall.