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Hopewell Township supervisors at a recent meeting scrapped their proposed "Chicken Ordinance" after residents protested the attempt to limit the number of chickens they can own.

The proposed rule would have changed the number of chickens permitted in residential areas and how much acreage is required, said Keith Hunnings, the township's zoning and building code official.

The township's current ordinance provides no acreage requirements and no limit on the number of chickens a residential resident can keep, he said.

The proposed change, prompted by a resident who complained about a neighbor's chickens, would have limited residents to a maximum of five chickens or other fowl on 1-acre lots or less. There was no limit proposed on lots bigger than 1 acre.

But residents at the board of supervisors' November meeting said chickens feed their families through the eggs they lay. One resident added, "When the chickens no longer produce eggs, they themselves become dinner."

Residents said chickens produce less waste than dogs and runoff and odor only occurs when there is rain for long periods of time. One resident noted a pig farm in the area emits an odor regularly.

Supervisors sided with residents who said Hopewell Township is a rural setting, and newer residents should know what that entails before buying property and moving in. It is not fair for new residents to come buy land, and then attempt to change the way of life established in this area, they said.

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