Before building a coop and hatching or bringing home your new pets, you must first determine if it’s legal to keep chickens in your area. The last thing you want is to have to give up your backyard flock due to city ordinance. The laws vary by community, but most municipalities have a lot of rules about raising backyard chickens.
To start, you should research what your city’s livestock ordinances are. This code may even be available on the city’s website. If the legal jargon is confusing, you might want to contact the city clerk and your zoning board. If your property is not zoned as “agricultural”, then there are most likely restrictions on keeping chickens.
The most common regulations are:
Once you have determined what the city ordinances are, you will also need to contact your homeowner’s association to see if there are additional regulations regarding backyard chickens. If you are renting your property, then you would also have to check your lease agreement.
Additionally, you should check your local “nuisance ordinances.” Sometimes chickens are addressed here too in regards to improper care, noise, and odor. We recommend talking with your neighbors about your plans and the benefits of having backyard chickens. If they are excited about your flock, then they will most likely not complain about your chickens.
If owning chickens is not allowed by your local government, then we encourage you to find other like-minded people in the community and amend the local laws. Depending on your area, you may need to attend government meetings, get petition signatures or just fill out paperwork!