Send Ben: Wild chickens are ruffling feathers in Jacksonville neighborhood

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax Investigates a chicken problem in Lakeshore.

Action News Jax sent Ben Becker to get answers in a battle over birds.

You cannot see it, but Kendra Roberts said she hears it.

“Does it put you in a fowl mood?” Becker asked.

“Yes I’m a little upset when I wake up 4:30 in morning unnecessarily," Roberts said.

Every morning in her Lakeshore neighborhood, she hears the sound of roosters crowing.

“I’m actually losing my mind and I want to gain a little bit of sanity,” Roberts said.

Seeing and hearing is believing. Roberts reached out to Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services, only to find out it normally doesn’t handle wildlife.

But the city said "due the number of complaints received,” ACPS did come out three times in 2019 and claimed it was “somewhat effective” in handling problems. But Roberts says the squawking returned this year and contacted Becker instead of the city.

"You think people are feeding them?” Becker asked.

“I do think people are feeding them," Roberts said.

Becker and Roberts took a walk in the neighborhood, and found roosters and hens in the backyard of one neighbor.

“These chickens have been here longer than you and longer than me,” the neighbor said to Roberts.

According to a city ordinance, up to five hens may be permitted on each residential lot, but no roosters.

Becker counted more than five, plus roosters, chicken feed, a coop and eggs in the neighbor’s backyard.

But this neighbor said there are chickens all over the neighborhood and said she doesn’t own any of them and isn’t breaking any laws. "Just so I understand, these don’t belong to you?” Becker asked the neighbor.

“No they are not my chickens," the neighbor said. “As far as I am concerned, they are not my chickens, but I will feed them.”

"You don’t have a problem with this?” Becker asked the neighbor.

“I can’t control them, they live here too," the neighbor said.

Becker took Roberts’ concerns to the city, which said, “Chapter 462 of the ordinance code does prohibit the feeding of animals in a manner that creates a nuisance.”

The city went on to say the neighbor was “issued a warning citation and they will have to apply for a zoning exception to keep things as is.”

As for Roberts, while her feathers were ruffled by her neighbor …

“I think she is an enabler,” Roberts said.

Both agree progress has been made in working together to find a solution.

“I want you to be happy here,” the neighbor said.

“I really do appreciate she understands the frustration that not everyone wants to be woken up at 4:30 by roosters,” Roberts said.

The city said it typically only deals with stray animals. If your neighborhood has an issue with wildlife such as roosters, raccoons, birds or alligators, you typically have to hire a professional trapper or contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.