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Ferguson Township OKs Keeping of Domestic Ducks

by on August 21, 2020 1:30 PM

Ferguson Township supervisors on Monday approved amending the township's backyard chicken ordinance to also allow the keeping of domestic ducks.

In July 2016, the township adopted an ordinance allowing up to six hens on residential properties. No roosters are permitted. The updated ordinance now also allows keeping up to four ducks — male or female — which must be non-flight species, such as Pekins and Khaki Campbells.

Ducks were capped at a lower limit because they typically need more space and water. The ordinance requires that ducks "be provided with a clean water source large enough for the duck to fit its entire body and deep enough to submerse its head."

The change came after a request in November 2019 from a resident of Pine Grove Mills to allow the domestic keeping of ducks in residential zoning districts.

Planning commission reviewed the ordinance in July, and though it recommended approval, members expressed some concern about the spread of viral infections such as avian influenza. Supervisors determined ducks posed no greater risk than chickens and found no instances of avian flu transmission from birds to humans in the U.S.

Centre Region Planning Commission reviewed and supported the change to allow keeping ducks.

The ordinance sets standards for health, sanitary conditions and removal of byproducts and waste, which cannot enter the township's stormwater sewer system.

Chickens and ducks must be confined to a coop, pen or run with access to an outside area and cannot be allowed to run at large. Structured housing must be placed no closer than 10 feet from the side or rear property lines and cannot be kept in front yards. Minimum coop size is 3 square feet per chicken or duck with the maximum structure size being 144 square feet.

During non-daylight hours, the birds must be kept in a coop or pen enclosed on all sides.

Residents are permitted to keep chickens and ducks for personal use only. No sales of eggs, chickens, chicks, slaughtered fowl, or fertilizer are allowed.

A zoning permit fee is required for keeping chickens or ducks.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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