"There's actually a big movement to own small flocks in your small, suburban neighborhood," Mercer said. "Reasons for getting them are the eggs, knowing where your food comes from."

Mercer thinks the existing laws need to change to allow small numbers of chickens on properties of less than an acre.

Riches said she hopes "Baltimore County will put the law more in line with Baltimore City and other surrounding areas."

In Baltimore City, residents who obtain a proper permit from animal control can own up to four chickens that are more than one month old, as long as they are housed in a movable pen with at least 2 square feet per chicken, and the pen or coop is located 25 feet from a residence.

Riches said she thought such a law would work in the county and, should the current county law be changed as a result of Quirk's resolution, she plans to buy chickens as soon as she can.

"If the law passes, then I definitely would do whatever it is I need to do — whether it's applying for a permit, if it's registering my chickens," she said. "Whatever I need to do to keep it legal, I would."

Ginger Myers owns Evermore Farm with her husband, John Myers, in Westminster and said she has seen an increase in suburban residents wanting to own their own flocks.

She said residents should do their research on how to take care of chickens before starting their own flock.

"If they want to get into this, and a lot of people do, it's like taking care of a family pet," Myers said.

The Carroll County resident said she thinks Baltimore County is doing the right thing considering laws for ownership.

"Most of the ordinances that I'm familiar with across the country do not tie to a land mass, they tie to a number [of chickens]," Myers said. "They do not allow for roosters.

"I'm not sure that the acre [requirement] makes a lot of sense," she said. "Having to have an acre, I would question why they chose that number."

If properly cared for, chickens typically live three to five years and will lay about 270 eggs a year, Myers said.

Between those for laying eggs and those for eating, the Myers have almost 1,000 chickens on their property.

"Three or four chickens, they'll feed you," she said.

"And chickens are very personable," she said. "It's an entry level critter fix."

The County Council was scheduled to vote on Quirk's resolution Sept. 3.