What an exciting time! Many towns and neighborhoods have embraced small flocks as a part of normal backyard culture. However, owning livestock like chickens still isn't permitted everywhere. Are you asking yourself, "Can I even own chickens where I live?" Here's what you need to know before starting your own backyard flock.
Research First, Then Buy!
A critical first step in starting a backyard flock is knowing if you are by law- allowed to own chickens in your area. In a rural community, you make think it safe to assume you can do as you please on your land. However, many towns and cities have local ordinances, maybe a homeowner's association or other stipulations that would cause it to be unlawful to own chickens.
Don't fret, I'm here to help you find those answers!
Imagine you have done the hard work of raising up little chicks, preparing a coop and run and then you are told that you cannot keep your flock! To say that would be a disappointment would be an understatement. That's why it's so important to know beforehand- Can I own chickens where I live?
Who should you ask about owning chickens?
A great place to start when planning to own chickens is none other than Google. I easily found nearly every city ordinance for my area online. I have a feeling that this is common for most areas these days so I would certainly start there. A quick search of your town name + "livestock ordinance" should yield good local results. If you don't find town ordinances broaden your search to your county/parish name + "livestock ordinance".
If you start broad and find that you are allowed to own livestock in your county or town, don't stop there. Be sure that you check neighborhood restrictions such as Health and Zoning Boards. Also, if you are in a homeowner's association you'll want to review those regulations. Finally, for folks who are renting, always check with your landlord as well.
What questions should you ask about owning chickens where you live?
Now that you have found out that it's permitted for you to own chickens, there are some other questions to consider.
- Do you need your neighbors to consent?
- How many birds can you own?
- Are hens and roosters permitted where you live?
- What, if any, are the rules about coop placement in your neighborhood?
- Do you need permits for the animals or for building a coop?
- Do you need to register your animals with your town?
If you're still researching chickens or just want to learn as much as possible, be sure to check out my Chicken Vocabulary post. It's the ultimate guide to terminology you must know before buying chickens.
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