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How to Get Urban Chickens in Columbus, Ohio

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 

For pictures and further details, read the blog post.

Here's how we got chickens within the city limits of Columbus, Ohio:

Read up on chickens, coops, and mention to the neighbors that you're thinking of getting chickens. Ours were fine with us getting them, which came in handy later. Also read the city health code, section 221.05.

Build a coop. Ours is better insulated than our house and painted a bright, bright green. It also has a run that is just about as predator-proof as we can make it (we have coyotes, raccoons, and hawks, as well as dogs). It took Jeff a long time to build and it's not perfect, but it's the Waldorf Astoria to chickens!

Next, call (614-645-6748) or email Dr. Messer at the City of Columbus Health Department. You will need to schedule an appointment to have your coop inspected and your house's environment evaluated. Be persistent if you don't get an answer right away. Dr. Messer only has one person to help him with all of the veterinary health-related issues for the entire city. It may take him a while, but he will answer you.

Our house is really close to our neighbors so that isn't necessarily a negative for you during the inspection. It did help that we have a fence. The inspector took pictures of the coop and our yard. I also had to answer questions to show that I knew about chickens and how to care for them.

Next, the letters went out to our neighbors: two to the south, one to the north, and one to the west across the alley. One neighbor we hadn't talked to had some concerns but was reassured when he heard we were only getting a few chickens and the coop would be much closer to our house than his.

Then we got our conditional permit. Yay!

That's when we got chickens. Rather than get chicks from a hatchery, which was an option, we decided to get young laying hens instead. We don't have space to raise chicks inside for the first month or two, so the hens were a better option for us.

I found our chickens through the BackYard Chickens Forum. We originally wanted Buckeyes, but no hens were available. Instead, we got an easter-egger, and three mixed breeds. Their names are Nugget, Noodle, Fricassee, and Dumpling.

Then I had to take them to the vet's for an inspection. It can be hard to find a vet that sees chickens, but our regular vet at Animal Care Unlimited sees them. I fashioned a carrier for them out of a Rubbermaid container, some chicken wire, and bungie cords.

They passed their inspection and I got their health certificates.

I also had to write up a care plan and a waste management plan. Be specific. I divided mine into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

The next step, which I still have yet to do, is to send the health certificates, the care plan, and the waste plan back to Dr. Messer.

What happens after that, I don't know. I'll update the blog post when I do!

post #2 of 74

Thanks for posting. I live in Columbus. I wasn't aware I needed a permit to keep chickens. And frankly, if my neighbors don't mind, I think I'll skip the whole permit thing. One of my neighbors has a goat, the other one is operating a body shop out of his garage, and the guy next door sells rib dinners from his front porch. Not a permit in sight lol. Our neighborhood is quiet and clean, goats, cars, ribs and all. I think the hoops you had to jump through are ridiculous. Your coop is super cute though!

I don't have any chickens yet, I'm just starting the whole education process. Like you, I'll wait until I'm well versed on the whole topic before I take the plunge into chickendom.

"I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."


-Frank Lloyd Wright
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"I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."


-Frank Lloyd Wright
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post #3 of 74

woot

Way to go!

Come over to TheEasyGarden.com for all of your gardening needs!

Still Chickenless....
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Come over to TheEasyGarden.com for all of your gardening needs!

Still Chickenless....
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post #4 of 74

I live in 43207 S. Columbus and when I contacted the city they sent me to 311 call center who told me to contact city health department. I just got my email back from them today it read.

I  received your email about keeping chicken or ducks on your property.  The Board of Health does not have any regulations that prohibit any one from having them.  We would only get involved if property was not kept in a clean and sanitary conditions, i.e. excessive waste, odor or insect problems.  There may be a restriction by local zoning against having them.  You may contact Franklin County Zoning at 462-3094.  Please contact me if you have any further questions.





Charlie Broschart, R.S.

Community Environmental Health Services

Franklin County Board of Health

Phone: (614) 462-4538

Fax: (614) 462-3851

cdbrosch@franklincountyohio.gov

I've yet to call zoning but this process sounds like it will take me quite a long time so I should have plenty of time to get my hen house ready...lol

SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SophieLain127 

I live in 43207 S. Columbus and when I contacted the city they sent me to 311 call center who told me to contact city health department. I just got my email back from them today it read.

I  received your email about keeping chicken or ducks on your property.  The Board of Health does not have any regulations that prohibit any one from having them.  We would only get involved if property was not kept in a clean and sanitary conditions, i.e. excessive waste, odor or insect problems.  There may be a restriction by local zoning against having them.  You may contact Franklin County Zoning at 462-3094.  Please contact me if you have any further questions.





Charlie Broschart, R.S.

Community Environmental Health Services

Franklin County Board of Health

Phone: (614) 462-4538

Fax: (614) 462-3851

cdbrosch@franklincountyohio.gov

I've yet to call zoning but this process sounds like it will take me quite a long time so I should have plenty of time to get my hen house ready...lol


Hmmm, either the law is open to interpretation, or the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing LOL! Gotta love government agencies tongue

"I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."


-Frank Lloyd Wright
Reply
"I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."


-Frank Lloyd Wright
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post #6 of 74

that's what I think. I still emailed Dr. Messer who was listed as the contact by the above poster. I'm not planning on having my chicks till early summer so I have some time I suppose.

SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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post #7 of 74

I opened my email and much to my suprise there was an email from Dr. Messer it read....

Ms. Stone:
You may apply for a permit for the keeping of such chickens in the City of Columbus. The section of Health Code that applies to animal permits is attached as a Word document. In short, the following criteria are evaluated in the consideration of a permit:
·         public safety,

·         public health,

·         animal confinement,

·         animal cruelty,

·         animal welfare,

·         neighborhood  opinion, and

·         owner keeper harborer knowledge and ability.




Respectfully,

Aaron K. Messer DVM, RS
Public Health Veterinarian / Registered Sanitarian
Columbus Public Health
240 Parsons Avenue
Columbus, Ohio  43215-5331
Phone: (614) 645-6748
Cell: (614) 216-5154
Fax: (614) 645-7155
E-mail: amesser@columbus.gov
CPH Website: www.publichealth.columbus.gov
Confidentiality Notice:  This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information.  Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited.  If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original transmission.


The document he sent me reads as follows...

COLUMBUS CITY HEALTH CODE
221.05 STANDARDS RELATIVE TO ANIMALS AND FOWL.
(a) No person shall keep any equine, cow, sheep, goat, pig, llama or other large animal in any stable, barn or structure unless that stable, barn or other structure shall have a floor of impervious material and shall be so drained that all fluid excrement or refuse liquid shall be conducted into a City sanitary sewer. All manure and refuse shall be placed in tightly covered containers and removed from the premises before the manure and other refuse becomes offensive. The structure, animals and premises shall be kept in sanitary condition so that they shall not become offensive and so that they will not harbor animal or insect pests.
1) Exemption shall be made for any land annexed into the City of Columbus which is zoned agriculture and/or currently has livestock and/or domestic fowl at the time of annexation.
2) This exemption shall be in force as long as this land is zoned and/or used for agricultural purposes and poses no environmental or health hazards. (Amended 3/1/92, Resolution 92-5)
(b) No person shall keep, store, maintain, shelter or care of, at any time, animals of the hog or goat kind, equine, cow, alligator, crocodile, caiman, sheep, goat, llama, captive wild fowl, and all domestic fowl in any pen or enclosure on any premise, lot or parcel of land in the City without written permission from the Health Commissioner. Anyone intending to keep such animals must first obtain a permit from the Health Commissioner. Each pen or enclosure for such animals shall have a floor of impervious material and be under cover. The Health Commissioner may grant permission on the above situations only after it is determined that the keeping of such animals:
(1) creates no adverse environmental or health effects;
(2) is in compliance with all other sections of this chapter; and
(3) in the judgment of the Health Commissioner, after consultation with the staff of the Health Department and with the surrounding occupants of the place of keeping such animals, and considering the nature of the community (i.e., residential or commercial single or multiple dwellings, etc. ), is reasonably inoffensive. The Health Commissioner may revoke such permission at any time for violation of this chapter or any other just cause. (Amended 3/1/92, Resolution 92-5)


This is just a big pain. I pay my property taxes, city and state taxes only to have the government tell me what I can and cannot do...

SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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post #8 of 74

See, you shouldn'ta gone and drug them folks into your business lol!

I have the utmost respect for anyone who is willing to go through all that falderal. I however believe in the old maxim 'It's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission."

LOL! I'm an outlaw rebel guerrilla chicken farmer!

Good luck to you hun. You can do it. And the reward is worth the hassle.

"I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."


-Frank Lloyd Wright
Reply
"I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."


-Frank Lloyd Wright
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post #9 of 74

I have an elderly lady who is "out to get us" so I wanted to cover all my bases. She has complained about just about everything on our house. We can't leave a toddler toy in the front yard without getting some type of complaint....lol.

I considered being an outlaw but I cna't afford the fines.

SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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SAHM to Sophie (3 years old), Wife to Austin and care giver to Belldandy (mini lop rabbit)
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post #10 of 74
Thread Starter 

Depending on where you live in Columbus, the neighbors may easily know you have chickens.  I live in Clintonville, and we all see what goes on in each others' yards, fences or not. 

And while hens aren't what I would consider noisy, they're not mute, either.  If the neighbors don't see them, they'll certainly hear them!

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