Chickens, bees legalized in Brookhaven


The Brookhaven City Council has adopted an ordinance allowing residents to keep chickens and other domestic fowl in a limited capacity within the city.

The ordinance, which goes into effect Aug. 1, also allows limited beekeeping under certain conditions.

“We have heard a groundswell of support from the community in favor of allowing chickens and beekeeping in the context of organic gardening,” Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said. “This ordinance strikes the delicate balance of allowing certain domestic fowl, with a minimal impact on other property owners, which is also very important.”

According to the city, new ordinance applies to lots larger than 6,000 square feet and allows one bird per 1,000 square feet of lot size, with a maximum of 25 fowl for any lot. Pen areas must be situated at least 7.5 feet from the lot line. Bees can only be kept on lots larger than one quarter of an acre, and no more than eight hives are allowed.

The ordinance also requires that animals must be kept in sanitary conditions and not be a public nuisance. Roosters and other livestock are excluded from the ordinance.

“Until now, the city code gave Brookhaven residents little guidance on the rules and regulations for keeping chickens and other domestic fowl, and no guidance on beekeeping,” Ernst said. “With these additions, Brookhaven is taking a big step in support of urban agriculture.”



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