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City Chicken Ordinances

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    Hey there, my home town in Minnesota is drafting an ordinance for farm animals which includes chickens.  It's a hot topic around the country these days with people fearful of the problems and folks wanting quality home-grown food. 
      I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions or experience on how to get across the right message about it being possible to raise chickens in ways that doesn't stink up the neighborhood, cause rat problems, and create a farm scene that seems so objectionable to some folks.
      Permaculture is a fun idea for small cities.  I'd like to keep it legal here.
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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Regarding rodents:
If you will include some regulations on feed storage, such as 5-gal plastic food buckets (heavy type) with lid, or metal trash cans with lids this will greatly help to minimize rodents. 

If you could add wording to encourage outdoor cat(s) be added along with the chicken raising - this would be a huge rodent deterrent.

And last of all, add restrictions on rodent poisons opting for rat-traps instead and then feeding caught rodents back to the chickens - this helps chickens themselves become good ratters.

I have chickens in the city and no rodent problems.  But years ago when I first started keeping chickens the field mice came a running and started multiplying.  I used all the methods listed here and haven't had one mouse since.  I'm bummed, they made good winter feed 

Regarding smell:
There will be NO smell if natural organic matter is added to the chicken coop/area every 3 - 6 months.  This is NOT true for pine shavings or saw dust, but leaves, hay, grass or straw works just fine.  And leaves & grass can be collected and used right from the neighborhood without adding extra costs.

Sorry I do not have the time to help you with the exact wording, I have to get back to work, but maybe if you post a rough draft we (permies) can help with some edit suggestions... Just a thought.

I'm glad your doing this.  We need to take steps to keep our freedoms.

Posts: 2482
Location: FL
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I'm a mile from City Hall and keep chickens in a fenced corner of the yard.  From my yard I can hear at least 3 other roosters in the neighborhood.  I think 1 guy has a goat in a garage the next block over.  Backyard chickens are becoming popular both as pets and as a food source.

Over at the Backyard Chickens Forum there was a recent coop design contest.  I've not been active over there in a while, just got the latest email-o-gram about the contest, took a quick look at a couple of the coops.  Downright cozy.

There is a section on ordinances for backyard chickens which can offer much more information than reinventing the wheel in here.

With the recent sensational journalism concerning the Bird Flu, lots of fear and paranoia has been stirred up in an ignorant public.  While the worldwide human death toll to date is somewhere around 200 last time I heard, most of these cases, 95%+, were in southeast Asia.  I understand there were 2 cases in North America in victims who recently had returned from southeast Asia.  I leave it up to you to check the infection statistics.

The fact of the matter is that those bird feeders people have hanging on the back of their decks offers a greater risk than captive chickens.  The primary disease vector in North America is projected to involve migrating bird species which have the opportunity to mingle with asian migratory birds in the far northern hemisphere.  Another vector of concern is birds imported illegally without quarantine.  Most of these birds do not survive the ordeal and those that do are typically caged upon sale.

Chickens which are able to come into contact with migratory birds are/would be far more susceptible to exposure.  An ordinance which required full enclosure of the exterior bird run in order to exclude contact with migratory birds would offer some mitigation of this risk. 

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I think fayetville, AR just passed an ordinance allowing chickens. I will try and look into what made the advocates successful.

I would hesitate to suggest you would encourage outdoor cats. they are considered serious nuisances in most cities and I doubt that would turn anyone to your side.

in the basic proposal ,hens only would be one suggestion since it seems people are often concerned with noise. and as jami said requirements for feed storage. of course there needs to be a limit on the number of chickens based on lot size. I would stay pretty vague about housing using terms like adequate and unobtrusive so as to please both the naysayers and the frugal folks that don't want to have to build a chicken mansion.

surely animal control officers already have to somewhat subjectively decide if pet housing is adequate.

a small informative sheet outlining some very simple housing needs of chickens showing that (once again) people are already tolerating as much if not more of a problem with a few dogs in their neighborhood then they would with chickens. suggestions like a bottomless dog house with roosts or a rabbit hutch type thing would be good. make it a point to suggest things that people are already using for other 'legal' animals so that naysayers will realize they are already looking at chicken housing. it just happens to have dogs or rabbits in it instead of chickens right now.

of course people will have concerns about manure and smell. rather then address this as it directly relates to chickens I would point out that the chicken owners would be required to follow the same sanitation requirements that dog and cat owners are. nobody freaks out about a dog pooping in their niehbors backyard unless it becomes a problem. this would inadvertantly point out that any animal owner can neglect their responsiblities regarding their animals so its not as if owning chickens suddenly brings about a new problem. then people will realize they are already dealing with the problem of manure adequatly in the city and that the chicken owners will simply be expected to comply to the same standards. a nice complimentary pamphlet with suggestions on how to deal with all 'pet' waste including chickens would be beneficial.

if people are concerned with noise you could approach it the same way. surely neighbors of nuisance barking dogs already have some pathway to a resolution and chicken owners would be expected to comply with the adequate noise and nuisance ordinances already in place.   

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Can any one help verify Martin County Florida rules on chickens. I have been told by a few sources that Florida allows homeowners to have chickens in the Florida Statutes as long as the owners are raising the chickens for their own consumption and usage. I have not been able to find it in the statutes. This "law" ordinance etc supposedly supersedes even Homeowner association rules. I've gotten no where with the county. Same old phrase, the ordinances are online. Searches come up empty handed. Any suggestions?
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I am also in Martin County, Florida (Stuart).  I am wondering if you know the answer yet for the ordinances for keeping chickens? 
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