Chicken Laws and Regulations
If you plan to raise chickens in your backyard, there are some steps to take before buying your chicks. The first, and most important consideration, is local laws which affects backyard chicken farming. Laws about keeping animals in a backyard vary from area to area; the last thing you want to do is buy chickens only to find out your city doesn’t allow keeping them on your property.
Before you make a definite decision to raise backyard chickens, contact your local government office.
1. Start with calling to find out which office handles raising chickens. Once you find out who to contact, I recommend going in person. You will learn more visiting the office than you will over the phone. Plus, many local offices give out free information to anyone wanting to raise farm animals on their property.
2. If your city or county does allow raising chickens, you will need to know the details. Most nonagricultural areas have rules governing what you can or cannot do. For example, there may be a limit of how many chickens you can have. Usually, this will be a flat number, like no more than 10 chickens. Some areas, however, base the number by your property’s square footage; the larger the property, the bigger the flock.
3. Some areas may regulate the type and size of coop and pen you need; or how far to place your pen from the property line.
4. Does your area allow roosters? Roosters are noisy so some areas only allow hens. The rules may also ban slaughtering meat chickens in the backyard. Knowing what types of chickens you can raise is also important.
Don’t rely on information from neighbors, check with local officials yourself. Accurate information is essential for avoiding unnecessary expenses or fines. Once you understand the rules and buy any needed permits, you are ready to prepare the area for your flock.
If you can’t raise chickens in your backyard, consider starting a campaign to get the law changed. It will surprise you how a few supporters can change a law. Attend a local government meeting to bring forth your petition. Go prepared with good reasons for allowing backyard chickens. It’s best if you can show the council why allowing chickens will be worthwhile. Attend the meeting armed with accurately researched facts.
Check the laws for your city and state.
Be sure to double check the information for accuracy before buying chickens.
You can find more information through your local extension office or area 4-H and FFA organizations.