Egging It On: Residents Ask for Rule Changes in Order to Raise Chickens

By Seth Daniel

The Everett Board of Health is considering an amendment to the long-time ordinances governing whom can and how one can raise and keep chickens in the City.

The Nuisance regulations regarding live poultry and chicken farming in Everett will have a hearing on Monday, June 19, in City Hall at 6 p.m.

The main push to change the long-standing ordinances comes from residents who wish to raise more of their own food – an offshoot of the community gardening trend that is already thriving in the City. As a natural second step to that, a good many in the City want to raise their own poultry – mostly for the purpose of harvesting fresh eggs.

Elaine Silva of the Health Department said the changes said the Department is looking to make the changes, but only after they hear from the public on June 19.

“The times have changed and people really want to raise chickens on their property,” she said. “The Board will go back and review the regulations that are proposed to be put in place…People are really, really in to healthy eating and healthy food, including raising their own chickens, but they have to do it in a safe and healthy way as well.”

That’s exactly what the Department will be trying to balance with the new regulations.

  • Nuisance Control including odor, noise and the limit being four hens/chickens on a property.
  • Once an application has been submitted, abutters will be noticed. If two or more abutters oppose, the application will automatically be denied.
  • The application fee structure will be changed from $10 per chicken to a $50 flat fee for a permit.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he supports the measure, and said it falls in line with the City’s move towards urban farming and healthy living.

“Throughout my administration I have promoted healthy living and eating and I encourage all residents to do so,” he said. “We have established community gardens, an urban farm, and have improved many of our parks and recreation facilities. Recently, many residents have expressed an interest in having chickens on their properties to provide fresh eggs and healthy food. In order to ensure public health and safety and neighborhood concerns, we need to update regulations to ensure that animals are being cared for correctly. I am pleased the Board of Health has scheduled a public meeting on these regulations and I encourage anyone who has an interest to attend this meeting.”

Silva said the Board will take in all the information at the meeting, and submit recommendations to the City Council in the summer. The Council is expected to take up the recommendations when they resume meeting in September.

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