To Manatee County commission: Say yes to backyard hens

March 16, 2013 

Backyard coops may be springing up around Manatee County soon thanks to the CLUCK-ing by members of the Manatee chapter of Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping (yes indeed, CLUCK is the acromyn).

Imagine farm fresh eggs most every morning. Cardiologists might get heartburn over that, but this appeals to a lot of people. Palmetto and Sarasota allow hens (but not loud-mouth roosters), as does Sarasota County. Holmes Beach approved an ordinance this week. Bradenton still forbids the critters. This is a nationwide movement, and the solid arguments in favor are winning the day.

One of the chief CLUCK chirpers is Bradenton's Robert Kluson, an extension agent at Sarasota's University of Florida/IFAS program. He's been pecking away at Manatee County commissioners for well over a year, now putting the heat on officials to quit chickening out on the issue. (We're just cracking wise to follow CLUCK's great moniker.)

An expert on the topic, Kluson, a Ph.D., has been giving workshops on raising backyard chickens going on four years. Some 100 people showed up for one last year in Largo.

Manatee County could have chickens by the sea soon. Commissioners are expected to take up the issue during a Tuesday workshop.

We say: Don't let this remain cooped up any longer.

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