Backyard chickens approved for St. Joseph County couple who live on less than an acre

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

A St. Joseph County couple managed to get special permission to have chickens in their backyard on their Penn Township property, which is much smaller than the county requires for homes with backyard chickens.

Lori and James Adams were granted special permission for their six chickens by the St. Joseph County Board of Zoning Appeals, WNDU reported. The county normally requires property owners to have at least five acres of property in order to keep urban chickens, which the county classifies as livestock, but the Adams family lives on about a third of an acre.

“I don’t think chickens can still be classified as livestock, that’s my biggest thing,” Lori Adams said, according to WNDU. “Take chickens out of that unless you’re a chicken farmer, if you have hundreds or thousands and you’re doing this commercially that’s a different thing, that’s farming.”

Lori Adams said she believes other people in the county also keep backyard chickens without meeting the minimum property requirement.

The county requirements for backyard chickens are stricter than the city of South Bend, which asks property owners to keep chicken coops 15 feet away from the property line and 20 feet from the nearest residence, WNDU reported.

Read more about the Adams’ appeal in the full story from WNDU.