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My girls are outlaws!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My name's Emily and I live in Michigan, just south of Detroit, in a little city called Wyandotte. I've had "my girls" since about Easter and some have just started laying eggs!
Today I got horrid news from the ordinance officer: You have two days to get rid of your chickens. I asked to see the ordinance that I was in violation of and was given a copy later in the day. In the ordinance it states that pigeons are allowed (up to 40 of them!), as long as it's not for commercial reasons, they aren't roosting on neighboring property, you keep them cleaned up, etc.
Any thoughts or insight on this? I have new homes lined up for the girls...but am quite miffed about this pigeon business. What's the difference between a chicken and pigeon?! Why would one be ok and not the other? What are some tips about contacting the mayor and city council people? How 'bout tips on starting a petition?
Thanks so much in advance; looking forward to hearing back from you!


Below are the official terms of the ordinance...

Sec. 4-15. - General prohibition against keeping.

It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, within five hundred (500) feet of any dwelling, street, alley or public place, any animal, bird or fowl except pigeons and such animals or birds as are commonly kept or housed as household pets.


Sec. 4-17. - Pigeons.

It shall be unlawful for any person who owns, keeps, cares for or controls any pigeons:

(1) To allow them to perch or linger on the buildings or property of others, or to allow them to become a nuisance to the buildings or properties of others in the vicinity;

(2) To breed, keep or care for pigeons for commercial or market purposes;

(3) To fail to maintain the places in which the pigeons are kept in a clean, sanitary and orderly manner and in a condition comparable to neighboring buildings;

(4) To fail to place all scrapings and pigeon manure in a covered receptacle, which is to be kept in such manner as to prevent any malodorous or offensive condition to exist and to prevent any nuisance to arise therefrom;

(5) To keep more than forty (40) pigeons;

(6) To fail to summon and call the pigeons solely by inaudible means, such as by use of flags or a silent whistle.

post #2 of 5

Yikes! I'm so sorry! You can work to change the ordinance, but unlike others in many other cities/counties, 4-15 seems quite clear. It's crazy how the ordinances go. Can you go to a city counsel meeting and ask why? Have a look at your state thread. There's a right to farm act. I hope someone can chime in to help you! I'm from Howell, ran all around Livonia and Northville as a kid. Best of luck!  

Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
post #3 of 5

My city (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) has the same law. :( It REALLY burns me that people are allowed to keep what one news article commenter described as "air rats" (the pigeons) but NOT chickens. As Mutt Farm said, there's not much left to you but to try to have the lawns changed. Some municipalities have successfully started pilot projects for allowing backyard hens. Maybe you and a bunch of other like-minded folks can get your city in on it!

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi Mutt Farm!  To me, when I put Ordinance 4-15 into words that everyday people would use I read it as: It's illegal to keep animals, birds, or fowl (but not pigeons or other animals that are commonly kept as pets) within 500 feet of homes, streets, alleys, and public spaces.

I feel that chickens could be (should be) classified in the "but not pigeons or other animals that are commonly kept as pets" part.... Keep in mind, I'm no lawyer, and because I'm personally affected by this I may be misreading it...but PERHAPS there's a chance their verbiage is garbage??!

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Oh Iryssa! I like the idea of the pilot program!!  Thanks!!

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