Raising Chickens is Clean, Safe, Westwood Resident Says
Cecilia Brennan said her neighbors have never complained about four chickens the family keeps in their backyard.
Some Westwood residents were surprised to learn that there are 36 properties in the borough where chickens are kept, but those who keep the birds say there's nothing to worry about.
Cecilia Brennan has been keeping chickens since 2011. It was Brennan's son, Kevin, who first had the idea to get the chickens because of his interest in permaculture. He built a "roving coop" which they can move around to different parts of the yard, preventing any one spot from getting too torn up by the chickens' feet.
None of their neighbors have ever complained — the birds don't make much noise — and there have been no problems with rodents or any kind of sickness, she said.
"It's been a fun experience," Brennan said. "They seem happy."
The Brennans have four chickens, which give them about one egg each day. Chickens typically lay eggs for about three years, according to Brennan. After that, they may try to find a local farm that will take them, she said. They don't keep any roosters because they don't want the noise or any baby chicks, she said.
It's not expensive to keep the chickens, Brennan said. They feed the chickens grain and table scraps each morning, then let them peck around the yard for worms and insects in the afternoon. One bag of feed lasts about six weeks, she said.
"It's like having a pet," Brennan said. "They're not high-maintenance."
The Westwood Council discussed creating a law for keeping chickens at their previous meeting. Councilman Ray Arroyo said the borough had received some complaints.
Arroyo said that the future ordinance could mirror those passed in other area towns, which limit the number of chickens and require minimum lot sizes for the birds to be allowed.
Brennan said she wouldn't be opposed to a law if it ensured chickens were kept safely, but felt it additional rules weren't really necessary.
"I think it's probably better to leave it as it is," Brennan said.