Knoxville City Council approves backyard chickens Knoxville, (Tn.) City Council on Tuesday night approved an ordinance to legalize the keeping of backyard chickens within city limits. The ordinance was sponsored by Councilman Chris Woodhull and approved on a unanimous voice vote. Second reading will be heard in four weeks rather than two weeks to give "stakeholders" a chance to meet to consider improving the ordinance. Currently, the practice is illegal under the city code. Stephen Smith, a nonpracticing veterinarian, said backyard hens will "decrease the (city's) environmental footprint." Chad Hellwinckel, with the Knoxville Urban Hen Coalition, said backyard hens are a healthy source of eggs and strengthen community ties. Some opponents, including animal control official Karen Pappas, said they were concerned about an increase in predators. Others said they were concerned about the odor and decreasing property values by neighbors. Under the new ordinance, backyard hens could be kept only for egg production - not for the selling of eggs or chicken breeding. A $25 annual permit would be required. The ordinance would allow six chickens on any size lot. Only hens - not roosters - would be allowed. Hens would be required to be kept in a fenced enclosure that would have to be "clean, dry and odor-free" and could not disturb neighbors. Naekid, Tell twolittlefishes to keep up the fight.