Chelmsford Postpones Chicken Decision as Controversy Continues

Many Chelmsford residents believe that chicken scratch is leading to a rat infestation

In Chelmsford, Massachusetts, there's a controversy centered around chickens.

Strict enforcement of a by-law could mean some families will have to give up their birds, and it's left a community divided.

For now, the Chelmsford Planning Board has decided to postpone any decisions regarding who should be able to have the chickens. The town's by-laws state that you must live on 40,000 square feet to have chickens, rabbits or ducks on your property. But a number of town residents who live on smaller parcels of land received permits from the board of health allowing them to have such animals.

Many residents believe chicken scratch is leading to rats infesting their neighborhoods.

“Myself I’ve caught 53 rats. My other neighbors around twenty something rats and another one 15 rats,” says Edward Buckley, who along with neighbors wants the rats gone and the by-laws to be upheld.

The planning board has decided to revisit the issue during their spring meeting.

In the meantime, the town's zoning and planning boards will try to work on a resolution that’s a compromise between those who want to keep their chickens and those who want the by-law of 40,000 square feet upheld.

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