William Corson’s pet roosters are ruffling feathers in his Bartow neighborhood.
Corson had three of the fowls living in the backyard of his Margaret Avenue house. He once had more than 20.
"I breed them for my nephews, so they can show them at 4H and things like that," Corson said.
He gave up many of his roosters because neighbors complained about their constant crowing. Last month some of the neighbors took their complaints to City Hall. That's when code enforcement got involved and began an investigation.
Code enforcement officers spent about two weeks in the area documenting how long the roosters crowed, said Gregg Lamb, in charge of Bartow code enforcement. They recorded more than 29 crows March 21 in a 20-minute span.
A few days later, they recorded 19 in four minutes.
“They can crow several times a day, which wouldn't be declared a nuisance," Lamb said. "But when it's for long periods of time at all hours and all times of the day – 20, 30, 45 minutes at a time nonstop – that's when it becomes a problem."
Residents can own chickens in Bartow, but they can violate the city's noise ordinance. The owner of Corson's house has until Friday to do something or face a $25 per day fine.
City leaders are working on an ordinance to prohibit or limit the number of backyard roosters and hens. Until then Corson doesn't plan to pluck anymore fowl out of his backyard.
"I'm going to remove some more pins, but other than that the birds are here to stay," he said.