'Egg-cellent': Lake County could soon allow chickens in residential areas

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Some Lake County commissioners are pushing to allow homeowners to keep chickens in residential areas.

The birds are already allowed in areas zoned for agriculture, but the new ordinance hows to expand on that, similar to an ordinance recently passed in Orlando.

If approved, however, there would be rules surrounding the ordinance. Roosters would not be allowed due to the noise.

Supporters of the proposal say it's a perfect fit for Lake County.

"I know of friends who had hens in their back yards, and the neighbors didn't even know it," said Cindy Carley of Seaquest Farm.

But not everyone was a fan of the proposal.

"Chickens in the back yard of all my neighbors where I live, then I'm not so sure. I actually might squawk about that," said Jimmy Conner, who is on the commission.

In neighborhoods, any new county rules would not trump the homeowners associations if they chose to ban the birds.

"I would assume they would not go along with it," said Carley. "I mean, you need permission from some of these HOAs just to have a fence put up."

Having a few hens has apparently gotten quite trendy. County officials looked at chicken coops from Williams-Sonoma, which cost more than $1,500.

Some county leaders said the ordinance is about freedom and that any homeowner should have a right to have a few hens to produce fresh eggs.

"I think moving forward is an egg-cellent idea. So, there you go," said Sean Parks of the commission.

The county agriculture center is already offering a course on how to raise hens.