Fowl fight brewing on Long Island

November 21, 2008 2:38:12 PM PST
A fowl fight is brewing on Long Island. A family is raising chickens so they can enjoy the fresh eggs. The problem is that it's illegal in the town of Huntington Station.The Juriks are raising their 18-month-old son, James, along with a handful of chickens. They say it is to provide their baby with all of the protein he needs from a guaranteed organic source. And they say he's taken quite a liking to them.

"The sound of the chicken, bawk bawk, was one of the first sounds he made," Jennifer Jurik said.

To make sure they're getting the freshest, safest eggs, the Juriks keep the animals in their own backyard, but recently found out that they are breaking the law. Chickens aren't allowed to live in peoples yards, according to Huntington town code. Its part of an ordinance prohibiting poultry, cattle or mink on residential property.

"I thought for non-commercial uses, we were allowed to have chickens," Tim Jurik said. "If we were just eating the eggs ourselves."

Until recently, the chickens actually wandered freely all around their fenced-in yard. But when someone complained to the town supervisor, the real squawking began.

"Yet I'm allowed to have pet rabbits, and pigeons all over the place?" Tim Jurik said. "Any complaint on chickens you can apply to pigeons or rabbits equally."

To the Juriks surprise, town supervisor Frank Petrone didn't disagree. He even says a change to the chicken ordinance will likely be made by spring, especially with a renewed green movement nationwide.

I don't object to people having a few chickens, provided the cleanliness the health conditions and noise conditions," Petrone said.

They say the hens lay about a dozen brown eggs a week, but in addition to getting excellent eggs, they say these hens are pretty much their pets, with great personalities.

For now, the Juriks can keep their chickens without fear of them being taken away while they apply for a specialty permit and a potential ordinance change. They say it would be heartbreaking to lose their feathered friends, since what started as a few egg-laying chickens has turned into a lot more.

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STORY BY: Long Island reporter Emily Smith

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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