College Township Approves Residential Chickens After 10-Year-Old's Fight To Keep Her Hens

Feb 19, 2021

Maeve and Jackie Elliot began the fight for backyard chickens in the summer of 2020. After two drafts of the ordinance, Maeve's chickens are finally legal in the township.
Credit College Township via Zoom / College Township

College Township in Centre County unanimously passed an ordinance Thursday night on residential chickens, making it possible to own the farm animals as pets. 

The fight for backyard chickens began last July when 10-year-old Maeve Elliot began raising hens during the pandemic.

The Elliot family bought the pets without knowing they weren’t allowed. The previous ordinance restricted farm animals from residential properties less than 10 acres.

Maeve said the hens have been good for her mental health.

“Chickens may not seem like much, but they meant a lot to me. They are not just food, they are family," Maeve said.

The ordinance outlines several regulations, including sanitation and coop size requirements. There’s currently no minimum lot size.

Residents will be required to use chickens for personal use only.

College Township Chair Eric Bernier said in planning the ordinance they considered data and science.

“That took us some time, and it took us some time to get educated," Bernier said.

Maeve’s mother, Jackie Elliot, said she’s glad to see her daughter’s chickens finally allowed in the township.

“This appears to be a solid ordinance that I believe the majority of residents will be pleased about," Elliot said.