During its meeting on Tuesday night, the board voted to loosen its ordinance on chickens to allow as many as eight per home in residential areas.
Residents have been allowed one chicken on two residential acres and one per acre beyond two acres, but non-rural homeowners couldn't keep chickens.
Under the new rules, the chickens will be allowed on lots that are at least 20,000 square feet, with the hens kept in the backyard and at least 25 feet from any property line.
There must be no noticeable odor at the property line. A minimum of 10 square feet per hen in a coop is required, as is sanitary disposal of hen droppings and dead birds.
Twenty people signed up to speak on the issue though not everyone spoke.
The board was considering increasing the minimum lot size to keep chickens, but that idea was opposed by those in attendance.
"It would exclude so many people from enjoying chickens," said Sarah Hughes of Canton, who presented the board with a petition signed by people in favor of a more liberal policy on backyard chickens. "It takes so little space to raise chickens."
Some residents spoke in favor of also allowing roosters and turkeys, neither of which was approved.
"If you want to have chicks, you have to have a rooster," Ursula Cox of the Univeter community said.
Tom Earley of Macedonia, whose wife, Ann, attended dressed in a turkey costume, pushed for inclusion of turkeys.
"The turkey offers a melodious gobble, which would not disturb even the lightest of sleepers," he said.
The board on Tuesday also increased its greenspace holdings by about 226 acres with the purchase of property on Ficklen Church Way north of Lake Allatoona.
Commissioner Karen Bosch said she's excited about this acquisition for the county.
"This property will open up the northern part of the lake," she said, adding the board has set a priority of preserving land near waterways.
The cost of the property is $14,7000 an acre. The total cost, which will be funded by the $90 million parks bond approved by voters two years ago, is $3.3 million.
"I doubt I will be camping on this ground, but I am glad to pass it on," Commissioner Jim Hubbard said.
The board additionally on Tuesday approved new payroll deductions for employee's health care. The action was taken so the county could reduce its annual health-care costs by an estimated $500,000.
The new costs per pay period are about $51 for a single employee, about $122 for an employee plus one and about $185 for a family. For a married couple, the cost is about $69 and $95 for a two-employee family.
The new health-care plan also includes the creation of a clinic where employees could receive care without a co-pay fee. The clinic likely will be opened in the former City Club of Canton facility, which also will be used for a senior recreation facility.