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Keeping Backyard Chickens: Know the local ordinances


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By Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

In the past decades, many urban and suburban communities have passed ordinances allowing chicken keeping. But not all localities allow chickens and those that do may have strict rules.

Chicken-keeping laws

A first step before you even consider keeping chickens is to find out the local laws and ordinances. Go online, or to your city hall, and ask/research your county and local municipalities for things like:

  • Is keeping chickens legal where you live?
  • Maximum amount of chickens allowed.
  • Can you keep a rooster? Some localities only allow hens.
  • Do you need a permit?
  • Coop restrictions (distance from property line, size of coop and other considerations).

Don't forget to contact both zoning and the local health department for regulations and check on disposal of waste.

Neighbors

If all is allowed and you decide to go ahead and keep chickens, don't forget to contact your nearest neighbors to let them know you will have chickens. Take the opportunity to politely educate them and allay their fears, if they have them, about sanitation and smell, which won't be a problem if you clean your chicken area properly. You may even want to offer free eggs to sweeten the deal.

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