Chicken-owning ordinance clears City Council hurdle

The so-called chicken ordinance, to allow Salisbury residents to keep the animals, passed on first reading at the City Council’s legislative session Monday.

The ordinance allows keeping chickens, subject to regulations, and states it’s in the best interest of the city to permit the animals  and their eggs for limited consumption.

The ordinance, City Attorney Mark Tilghman, told council members, “sets forth requirements for having chickens, indicates what limits are with odor and noise, sets requirements with lighting and also sets forth violations and penalties.”

Keeping fowl in city limits is also regulated by the state, Tilghman said.

Council President Jake Day said one change discussed at the last work session, before the matter went to legislative session, regards detection of avian influenza virus.

Day suggested broadening the language to include that animals with avian flu, or bird flu, as determined by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, “could cause immediate culling of the flock.”

Wording was altered to include avian flu “or other contagious diseases.”

Reach Susan Canfora at

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