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Fair or Fowl: Should Clark Allow Chickens?

At Monday night's council meeting, members discussed whether or not to prohibit raising chickens and other livestock.

Clark chickens may have to fly the coop. At Monday's meeting, councilmembers discussed whether or not to prohibit chickens and other farm animals in the township.

Clark Health Officer Nancy Raymond said last year she was notified that a Clark resident and Schieferstein Farm were interested in getting chickens and felt that the town needed to put forth an ordinance regarding chickens.

Raymond also told council that there are currently two Clark residents who have six chickens each that she is aware of. Councilman Brian Toal chimed in and said that two years ago there were at least eight residents with chickens and a resident on Ivy Street who bred homing pigeons.

Raymond reached out to other towns in Union County and of the nine that responded, five had ordinances prohibiting chickens. Raymond said that Cranford allows chickens, but has fines in place to govern how they are managed. Raymond also said the most common restriction in towns that allowed chickens was that they did not allow roosters.

Councilman Pat O'Connor asked Raymond if she knew of any health concerns regarding raising chickens.

"No, as long as they're handled correctly and clean, and if they're going to slaughter them they don't do it at home," answered Raymond. "But if they don't keep the coop clean they can attract rats and other wildlife."

When asked her preference, Raymond said she would prefer that chickens were prohibited.

Councilman Richard Kazanowski asked Raymond if there was any health reason (besides wanting farm fresh produce) that would make someone want to raise chickens. Raymond said there was not.

The council also discussed whether there were ordinances regarding other farm animals. The consensus was that Township Attorney Joseph Triarsi would check current laws and zoning regulations and then draft an ordinance prohibiting chickens and other livestock. The council did not decide whether residents who currently have chickens would be exempt from the ordinance.

Would a chicken ban ruffle feathers? Take our poll, below.

Resident Doug Ritter spoke up during the public comments section of the meeting and said when he was growing up in Fanwood his brother built an incubator to hatch chicks.

"I don't think you should try to encourage or discourage a young child trying to educate themselves with an item like this," said Ritter. "I think it certainly should be limited, but perhaps allowing chickens for a certain period of time might be decent idea."

Donough Ryan January 30, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Are you Sure it was not Humans that spread the pneumonic Plague.! You need to read more medical Journals and less blogs.
Donough Ryan January 30, 2013 at 10:10 PM
I grew up with Chickens in My Back Yard and agree that 10-12 is too much. 10-12 Cats would be too much and if not looked after would Stink also. That is why there should be rules. A ban is a "Cop-out".! And I guess the never gave you any Eggs.
Art August 11, 2013 at 03:08 PM
I moved in to Clark in 2013 and planning to raise chickens. So how did it end up? Is there any ordinance passed regarding this?
Julia January 25, 2014 at 08:42 AM
I have lived around chickens and have had chickens. My sister raises them in PA. I invite you to come visit. She keeps them extremely clean. You can't smell them. It's all in the way they are kept.
Julia January 25, 2014 at 08:44 AM
I also do cat rescue... I have no issues with that and am always complimented. My home is extremely clean. Even my vet compliments my home when he visits. I'm told he goes to a home with 1 cat and it can be bad. If you don't clean after your pets then you will have issues. It's all in the way you keep your home and your pets.

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