The Orlando City Council has decided to expand its program of letting people raise chickens in their back yards. Twenty-eight people were allowed to be a part of the pilot program, including Commissioner Patty Sheehan.
"I did a lot of research over this for several years," Sheehan said. "It's not some crazy chicken thing I just picked up."
The program started with a waiting list, because Sheehan was not the only one to want chickens. We asked her how it was going for her?
"Mine are my pets. My neighbors didn't even know I had them, until they saw me on the news, and it's no more difficult than cleaning up after a cat. As a matter of fact, I just chased my neighbor's dog out of my yard. It makes a lot bigger, a lot more mess than my chickens ever would think to."
They produce eggs as well. She handed out those eggs to the City Council at a workshop last week and Mayor Buddy Dyer was more than happy to accept.
"I fried the eggs because what's cool about them is that the eggs are different. They're different colors depending on the different variety of chicken, and then each of the yokes is different, so you didn't want to scramble them or make an omelet and just mix them all up."
Commissioner Tony Ortiz was raised on a farm, so he likes chickens just fine, but District 2 (East Orlando) is not participating. He told me there was too much negative feedback from residents.
"Some people are concerned about illnesses, about sometimes rats, and raccoons and all these different critters around our neighborhood, snakes."
District 1 (Southeast Orlando) was also excluded. However, the program does now include District 6 (Southwest Orlando), which includes MetroWest. And there are plenty of rules. For example, one can only have 4 chickens, and one must work with the city on being in the program. There is a $50 fee, and as it stands today, there are a few spots open for the pilot program.