A loud “cluck, cluck, cluck” echoed in the chambers Jan. 31 after Holmes Beach commissioners heard resident Ryan Duncan’s proposal to allow egg-laying hens.
He asked that the city consider an ordinance — such as one already enacted by the city of Sarasota, and those being considered by the city of Palmetto and Manatee County.
Commissioner David Zaccagnino said the city has a livestock ordinance because it once had a 300-pound pot-belly pig running loose, while others in the community recall the livestock ban coming before the pig problem.
Duncan said his family compelled him to plead his case to allow chickens as pets, and he pointed to how it encourages healthy lifestyles and offers opportunities to teach children how to be responsible. He said the laying hens are quiet and will stay put.
“It’s kind of a national push right now. To be able to control what we put into our bodies a little better. It might tie into your family strategy for permanent residents in Holmes Beach,” he said.
Commissioner Jean Peelen said she’s been buying fresh eggs. “They’re absolutely different tasting than what you get at the store. They’re just great,” she said.
Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie said the county is looking at a re-write of its land development code in considering such an ordinance. He didn’t know if it will be adopted by the county board, but agreed with Peelen about the delicious eggs.
Having grown up in a farm community, Chappie said he liked the idea, adding that chickens aren’t noisy and can be like pets.
“I love the idea of laying hens,” said Commissioner Judy Titsworth. “Everyone knew I grew up here. And I had hens. As a little girl, I’d walk to the shopping centers carrying my little hens under my arms.”
She added, “We’re trying to bring family back. We’re going to get people moving here just because we’re cool.”
After the meeting, Titsworth said there is a consensus among commissioners for legalizing egg-laying chickens, and she expects the issue will go on a future agenda for a vote.
The next Holmes Beach work session is at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7.