Surburban chicken owners seeking approval in Edmond

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EDMOND, Okla. -- Dozens of illegal backyard chicken owners are expected to crowd into Edmond City Council Chambers on Monday night.

They will line up to speak out about a proposed change to the city ordinance that prohibits residential chickens.

Right now, there are dozens, possibly hundreds, of backyard chicken coops operating in secret within Edmond city limits.

"I got a ticket and a warning letter and had to re-home mine or face a fine of $200 a day," said former backyard chicken owner Lainee Copeland.

Copeland gave her chickens away when she was busted by an Edmond code enforcement officer.

Now, she is an advocate for changing that ordinance.

"I had a friend who said, 'Let's fight city hall!'" Copeland laughed.

'Edmond Urban Chicken' lovers came together on Facebook.

They now gather at rallies and at city council to help re-write the current ordinance prohibiting chickens in residential areas.

"What you're looking at tonight is discussion only," said Edmond Public Information Officer Casey Moore about Monday night's meeting. "There will be no action. They'll be discussing setbacks like how many chickens might be allowed, zoning. Those are the real things we'll be discussing."

Urban farming is catching on around the country with more and more cities and suburbs giving the green light..

Critics complain about noisy roosters and stinky coops, but advocates argue their hens barely make a peep.

They say roosters aren't necessary for laying eggs.

"Roosters would not be allowed under what is being discussed. But you do hear about noise, waste. You hear about predators that chickens and their eggs attract," said Moore.

Copeland is not counting their chickens before they hatch, or putting all their eggs in one basket.

But, these families are walking on eggshells, hopeful they haven't ruffled too many feathers so their backyard buddies don't have to fly the coop!

"Our group is really looking forward to educating people and making them see how much it's changed. It's come a long way. We enjoy having chickens for pets, for educational purposes and for the eggs. They are wonderful to have around," Copeland said.

The Edmond City Council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The backyard chicken discussion is listed as one of the last items on the agenda.

The city expects they'll be taking public comment on that issue around 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

If the council moves forward on an ordinance change, they may decide to put it to a vote at a future meeting.

CLICK TO WATCH: Edmond City Council meeting LIVE feed

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