New rules come home to roost

Council adds restrictions for "fowl"


“Fowl” will be added officially to the list of approved livestock Kilgore residents can keep in the city limits.

By a 3-2 vote, the Kilgore City Council voted in favor of allowing fowl – strictly excluding roosters – at single-family residences.

Councilmember Victor Boyd made the motion, which was seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon. Mayor Ronnie Spradlin joined the Boyd and McClendon to record three aye votes against councilmembers Merlyn Holmes and Neal Barr’s nay votes.

The definition of fowl is “any heavy-bodied terrestrial bird of the order Galliformes, including but not limited to chickens, ducks, geese, pheasants, turkeys, grouse, guineas, or other common domestic fowl, but not including caged birds kept inside a building.”

Fowl joins the list of livestock, which already included horse, swine, cattle, sheep, goat, mule, jack, emu, ostrich and rhea. Even with the addition, roosters are strictly prohibited by the ordinance and each lot is restricted to six hens.

“That would in effect give us regulation over peacocks, guineas and all other Galliformes birds that would fall under fowl, including chickens,” Kilgore Director of Special Services B.J. Owen told the council. “We treat them like livestock, and then the next step on that ordinance amendment would set regulations to allow chickens… It would allow chickens with 100 foot separation on the primary pen, no more than six hens and no roosters.”

In order to be in compliance, the fowl must be kept in an enclosure or coop that has a nesting and roaming area. This enclosure must be at least 100 feet from “every building or structure used for sleeping, dining, or living, other than the owner’s residence, or in which business is conducted.”

“With these changes, we can allow chickens and be reasonably sure that our ordinances protect the public from potential hazards associated with this allowance,” Owen wrote in his memo to the council.

The addition of fowl to the ordinance does not affect the waiver allowed for students involved in FFA, 4-H and similar programs who raise project animals. Even if the council had voted against adding fowl to the ordinance, student projects would still be allowed by the waiver “as long as I get to inspect them and make sure they’re OK,” Owen said.

“And that’s OK with me, but I’m still no fowl,” Holmes said.

The ordinance prohibits free-range chickens, which are present in the city, Owen said, because there have not been rules to enforce it.

“The residential chicken is here to stay, I believe. Residential fowl or foul residential – some people think they’re foul, some people think they’re great.”