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Chickens will get chance to prove they’re not a nuisance

A few chickens may finally come home to roost in West Columbia.

A one-year test allowing residents to keep a small number of the birds in their backyards to produce eggs appears headed toward approval.

It’s a delayed victory for supporters, who refused to give up after City Council rejection in 2013.

“I finally came to the conclusion of let’s try it and see if it works,” said Mayor Joe Owens, a former opponent.

Agreement for a test “eased minds” by letting all sides see whether problems develop, Councilwoman Casey Jordan Hallman said.

The plan received initial council approval 6-3 last week amid concern from some residents about possible health hazards.

Council members settled on the one-year trial to see whether the practice creates problems in the Lexington County city of 15,000 residents. No problems have been reported elsewhere.

Guidelines are similar to those in three other Midlands communities – including adjoining Cayce – that allow chickens at homes:

▪ A maximum of four hens, with no roosters.

▪ Coops and runs must be enclosed, screened and located only in backyards at least 25 feet away from property borders.

▪ Odors can’t be a nuisance for neighbors.

Anyone who has chickens at home will be allowed to keep them should permission to do it be canceled at the end of the test.

Keeping chickens won’t be allowed in at least 18 neighborhoods that ban livestock, Assistant City Administrator Brian Carter said.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483