#City & Town Planning
Town of Parma, NY
United States of America

Given the current state of affairs, access to affordable and healthy food is becoming a national issue encroaching on our local community. With supply chain disruptions and price gouging, egg prices have nearly tripled for many commercial food suppliers. A simple method of protecting one’s own access to fresh food is by allowing one to grow and harvest his or her own food. We feel that now is an appropriate time for the Town of Parma to revisit its stance on allowing members of the community to own a small, well maintained flock of backyard chickens.

Allowing residents to own a small flock of hens has a myriad of benefits, including:
1. Pest control: Chickens eat an enormous number of insects, such as ticks, fleas and mosquitoes (all of which can spread disease). Additionally, they can consume pests that are harmful to the home and landscape, such as grubs, beetles and termites. A 1991 scientific study showed that chickens who scavenged for 30 minutes to an hour among tick-infested cattle in Kenya had eaten significant numbers of ticks. Each chicken had 3-331 ticks in its gizzard, with an average of 81 per chicken.
2. Ecological benefits: Backyard chickens act as nature’s composters; readily consuming leftover food scraps and redirecting a significant amount of waste away from landfills. A flock of 4 chickens can easily consume over 100lbs of kitchen scraps in a year. One of the byproducts of this is chicken manure, which is an excellent organic fertilizer for use in gardens and lawns. Owning chickens can also contribute to reducing the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. Finally, shifting egg production to the backyard would eliminate some of the significant pollution caused by factory egg farming.
3. Food security: By allowing community members to raise a small backyard flock of chickens, it makes a readily available source of healthy protein accessible to many who might otherwise struggle to regularly provide this nutrition for their families. This would also lessen the dependence on the cruel and environmentally unfriendly practice of factory egg farming.
4. Lifelong learning: Teaching our children and grandchildren to raise and watch over a small flock of backyard chickens is an excellent educational opportunity. It provides the chance to foster responsibility by caring for a living creature, and instill an appreciation for where food comes from.

Currently, the local ordinance states that:
Except for riding horses, no animals, other than ordinary household pets, shall be kept on any residential lot of three acres or less in any zone district. Riding horses may be kept on residential lots of 21/2 acres or more. Source: https://ecode360.com/11756404?highlight=horse,horses,riding%20horses&searchId=17696208487343611#11756404

Many of our neighboring towns; including Brockport, Hamlin, Spencerport, Gates, Brighton, Penfield, Pittsford, and others; all allow for a resident to have a coop on a parcel of land less than 3 acres in size with reasonable limitations. In fact, as of 2011, 93% of US cities allowed raising of backyard chickens; including New York, Denver and Los Angeles.

We propose changing the town ordinance to allow any lot size to own a reasonable number of chickens, with limitations on quantity, housing, setbacks and any other health and safety concerns provided by the town.

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The Permit Backyard Chickens in Parma NY petition to Town of Parma, NY was written by Ashley Miller and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.