Currently there is no ordinance that permits a resident to responsibly raise hens in Vernon Township. The Township should introduce an ordinance that allows residents to allow small number of backyard hens for the following reasons:
- Chickens produce a rich fertilizer by-product, high in nitrogen, eliminating the need for petrochemical fertilizers.
- Chickens eat insects, including ticks, reducing our backyard pest population, and allowing for reduced use of pesticides.
- Backyard hens provide an educational opportunity to teach children where our food comes from and demonstrate responsible pet ownership.
- Fresh, naturally raised eggs have an improved nutrient profile compared to conventional eggs
- Chickens eat table scraps, reducing municipal solid waste. A properly cleaned and maintained chicken coop poses no sanitation risks.
- Create Town Revenue - chicken owners will have to acquire a license for a fee from the town to own and raise hens.
By creating the ordinance to allow residents to keep a limited number of hens in residential zones, the Township will encourage stewardship of the environment and food production on a household scale, in line with the Township’s goals for environmental sustainability and support of local food.