WATAUGA, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The health of a 3-year-old girl recovering from cancer has a community rallying in support of a North Texas city ordinance to allow backyard chickens where they live.
The little girl lives in Watauga, where it’s illegal to have chickens in your home.
Ivy Johnson showed up to a Watauga public meeting over chicken coops wearing a mask— her bald head painted in bright colors. Her parents can’t risk her getting sick.
“It’s a big deal,” says Ivy’s mother, Katie Johnson. “She gets a cold and she has to go stay in the hospital.”
Ivy is in remission from Leukemia, but has three and half to four years of treatment left before she’s out of the woods.
“She does chemo treatments which can be very taxing on her body, and the doctors let us know that some of the most important things she can get is calories and protein,” says her dad Jeremy Moody. “Eggs just being what they are super rich on both of those things.”
Ivy’s family bought a chicken coop. Then, they realized the City of Watauga doesn’t allow them to have chickens in their yard. The parents say they need fresh, organic, antibiotic-free chickens to keep their little girl healthy.
“We want to start a garden, and we want to feed her eggs because we want to know that we are feeding the chickens the best possible food,” said Johnson.
Ivy’s family has lots of support from fellow residents who want to support her or want backyard chickens for other reasons. They all showed up at a public meeting about a backyard chicken ordinance tonight.
Long time Watauga resident Kay Ivey says she supports Ivy, too, but wants people to make rational, non-emotional decisions about chicken coops.
“They really need to consider everything else that’s going to go with it,” says Ivey.
Ivey grew up on a chicken farm and says keeping even a small amount of hens, is a lot more expensive than people think. She adds hens do make noise, and fresh eggs also draw predators, like skunks and foxes. Hens also need to be in a climate controlled coop.
“Those chickens are going to have that because this is Texas,” said Ivey. “You going to have to keep them cool. You’re going to have to keep them warm.”
No action was taken Monday night as the city continues to work on an ordinance. The next public meeting related to backyard chickens is February 11.