Backyard Chickens Flock to Baltimore County

For Immediate Release

[BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD.,  January 20, 2022] During a recent Baltimore County Council Session, Bill 113-21 passed in favor of backyard chickens, ending a backyard chicken keeping ban on lots under one acre in the county previously in effect for more than fifty years. Baltimore County will join several other local jurisdictions in allowing small scale backyard chicken keeping on smaller lots. 

“I am so excited that more people will be able to experience the joy that chickens have brought to my life!” said Vicki, a member of the Backyard Chicken Caucus for Baltimore County (BCCBC).

Backyard chicken keeping has increased in popularity over the years, with many interested in chickens as pets and a healthy source of locally raised eggs. Chickens can safely be raised in a relatively small space and used to be commonplace in urban and suburban neighborhoods. As factory farms became the norm and the price of eggs plummeted, these flocks gradually fell out of favor. A renewed interest in small-scale organic agriculture and food systems has brought forth a renewed interest in chickens with many opting to raise heritage breed chickens that were dwindling in number. 

Bill 113-21 was introduced by Councilman Marks, co-sponsored by Chairperson Jones and Councilwoman Bevins and passed by a 5-2 margin with members Marks, Jones, Bevins, Patoka and Quirk voting for the bill and members Kach and Crandell against. Three amendments were introduced at that session, two were accepted and one was withdrawn.

Many people have been inspired to try their hand at owning backyard chickens as an unanticipated result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as grocery shelves are bare and supply chains are interrupted. “Knowing that I have fresh eggs and vegetables from my garden gives me peace of mind and is an amazing learning opportunity for my children,” says Kim, a member of the BCCBC. 

Now that the bill is in place, the Backyard Chicken Caucus will shift its focus to education. “Supporting new chicken owners on how to successfully raise their flocks, and ensuring that we, as responsible backyard chicken owners, are good neighbors is important to us. We live in this county too so we want to make sure this is a success and to dispel any stereotypes or misconceptions that people may have about backyard chickens,” says Chelsey Armstrong of the BCCBC. The BCCBC has built a website (backyardchickencaucus.com) to provide information about common misconceptions and chicken raising resources. The BCCBC also has plans for further education including workshop classes and seminars on the horizon.   

“The passing of this bill means so much to us because our pet birds are cherished members of our family. They are no different from our four legged, furry pets. Legalizing backyard chickens means more people will feel comfortable sharing their experiences, ideas, and education with others. That’s a big deal for us.” says Jen, a member of the BCCBC Backyard flocks are often family pets, not faceless livestock. An often unexpected consequence of backyard flocks is that they bring neighbors together. Sharing eggs with friends and neighbors and excited children clamoring for a glimpse of these charismatic birds lead to tight knit communities and friendly conversation.

Bill 113-21 puts a licensure program in place and allows backyard chickens on a sliding scale dependent on lot size. These regulations are still much more stringent than other jurisdictions, but a huge step forward for Baltimore County chicken owners. For more information please consult Bill 133-21.   

The Backyard Chicken Caucus is a group of Baltimore County residents, friends, family, and allies that came together to advocate for backyard chicken flocks. Our mission is to provide education and resources to backyard chicken owners as well as to the county residents we call our neighbors. We seek to address common misconceptions by providing fact-based information and supporting new chicken owners in safely and responsibly starting a flock. 

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Contact

Chelsey Armstrong

info@backyardchickencaucus.com

www.backyardchickencaucus.com

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