Sam and Betsy Present Information about Possible Chicken Ordinance


Backyard Chickens

One of the projects the interns have been assigned is to research and present information regarding backyard poultry.   This will be used by the city staff and council to gauge citizen interest in the possibility of adopting an ordinance allowing backyard chickens.    Sam and Betsy were given this project.   After a couple of weeks of research, they presented their findings at an open meeting for community residents.  While attendance was low, the presentation has also been broadcast on the local cable access channel generating discussion in the community concerning the idea.   

Sam Presenting Information About Backyard Poultry

 In a nutshell, here are the key aspects of a possible poultry ordinance gleaned from the research they completed on ordinances found in other cities.

General Information Pertaining to Chicken Ordinances for City Poultry Initiatives
Benefits of Urban Poultry : The allowance of urban poultry in local cities is a growing trend. All across the states from Maine to California local governments brought on by the found benefits for such laws as well as popular pressure are allowing residents the freedom to raise their own poultry. Though, providing they adhere to restrictions and keep the practice under control and orderly. Benefits are indeed to be had. Namely the source of local protein, improved quality, pest control, source of fertilizer, as well the general fun of this recreational activity are most cited as benefits. Existing ordinances of this kind are a part of the local food movement advocating environmentally sustainable solutions for our food system, citing less dependence of factory farms and lengthy transportations of food, as well as the absence of chemicals. Animal right activists are pleased with the absence of growth hormones, uncomfortable living space, and general happiness and productivity of the chickens.

For more information and photos visit  This link has information about the following  issues: Maximum number of chickens, licensing fees, size of coops, distance from neighboring dwellings, inspections, penalties(information is from both in and out of state ordinances).

 Maximum Number of Chickens: Average number allowed seems to be between 4-6, though some allow 20 to even 50 chickens. A fare number do not state a maximum. Most do not include the allowance of roosters in their ordinances.

Licensing Fees: Most require fees for approval of licenses. Fees seem to range from $20 for initial pay to $50 or more. Renewal fees are about half of original fee to be paid yearly. 

Size of Coop-General Restrictions: Some do not require size or other coop restrictions. Most require clean facilities for animals, covering and proper fencing to be present. Noise restrictions are also common. Some ordinances only allow the keeping of poultry on property of only certain sizes in acres. 

 Distance from Neighbor Dwellings: Proximity restrictions are common and on average restrict chicken facilities to not be built within 25 feet of residential or public housing.

 Penalties: Animal infraction penalties carry the payment of fines. Zoning and city planning violations are more rigorous.


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