Chicken laws in NJ

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by chickenlover50010, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. Nancypenny

    Nancypenny New Egg

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    Feb 24, 2012
    I live in Parsippany and have been on the web all morning trying to find the laws as to if i can hve chickens in my back yard and how many. I have 2, not planning on having any more, but want to know if it is okay or am I in trouble. If I call town hall and they say no. I have a problem. but I really wanted to find something on line and have not forund anything that helps/ nancy
     
  2. GardenState38

    GardenState38 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2011
    Can you make an anonymous call? Don't specify a particular address--just ask about chickens (stress AS PETS) in a residential area.
    There may not be a specific "law" on the books about chickens.
    In my town, the ordinance that was cited in my violation notice (I'll get to that later) refers to things prohibited in a residential zone and makes no specific mention of chickens--there is something about "domesticated animals"--no more than 2 over 6 months of age allowed in a residentially zoned area. Where is it written I can't have pet chickens? The question is, do pet chickens fall into the category of domesticated animals? You could buy a lot of time in my town, asking them to interpret that statute...

    Maybe my story will help in some way, because I was in the same boat and know the frustration, but it's a long one-I'll try to condense.
    Like you, I could find no specific ordinance, or at least none that I could interpret specifically...and I just went forward and got my chicks and had my coop delivered. I went into this knowing the possible ramifications, but also armed myself with as much knowledge as possible, so that I could make a good argument for myself.

    I also didn't check in with my neighbors first (gasp!). They don't check in with me when they got a large dog and decide to leave it outside all day, barking constantly, or when they hang their dead deer carcasses from the tree bordering my yard, or when they decided to feed an army of feral cats...If you have nice, friendly neighbors, by all means, let them know! But if the relationship isn't all too good to begin with and they are the spiteful type...Let's face it--it could just backfire anyhow.
    I currently have 5 8-month old chickens in a very attractive, compact coop in my small suburban yard (bordering on Urban), which is completely surrounded by a 6 ft. stockade fence. Despite this, someone snitched on me to the zoning board in December (just before Christmas!). The town zoning officer issued the obligatory notice of violation which said I had to get rid of the chickens in 10 days, but I soon found out that we're lucky to have reasonable people on our zoning board, who have more important things to concern themselves with than my chickens... Hopefully the same is true in Parsippany.

    After receiving the violation, I had a polite conversation with the zoning officer and the lawyer for the Zoning Board. They know I am a very responsible owner, my girls are pets, and they are MUCH quieter than the neighbors' dogs. They were much more understanding than I'd expected. I very nicely made it clear that I wanted to do the right thing, and would be eager to do anything I could to be able to keep my hens, such as applying for interpretation of the ordinance (which gives you time, at least), or a land use variance .
    I asked for and was given an "extension", and was told I could keep my girls until they decide what next steps are. That was back in December... and no one has gotten back to me. Frankly, I have it on good authority that they won't, unless someone makes a stink.

    Honestly, unless they just feel like being mean, there's no reason for neighbors to complain. I've been sharing eggs with them and all tell me how adorable the coop is and how they NEVER hear my hens at all...So then, who ratted us out? I don't know, but I'm enjoying every day I have my girls. I do have a friend of a friend who could take them in if I need to re-home them, heaven forbid it ever does come to that.
    When I sit and think about it, it seems so very absurd that we have to fret and worry about the legality of keeping a few hens in our own backyard! And worry about the neighbors being ok with it...
    Hopefully, with more and more people keeping backyard chickens, things will change and we won't have to feel like outlaws! [​IMG]
     
  3. GardenState38

    GardenState38 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2011
    Did you find this?
    http://www.ecode360.com/PA0882

    It lists this, which is similar to my town's ordinance:
    § 430-38. Permitted uses.

    No building, structure or premises shall be used and no building or structure shall be erected or structurally altered, except for the following uses:
    A. Single-family detached house.
    B. A building used for horticultural, agricultural or dairying purposes, poultry or domestic animal-raising, provided that no building for the housing of cows, calves, bulls, horses, sheep, goats and birds or any building for the housing of hogs, hog pen, hog run or enclosure shall be within 100 feet of any side or rear lot line nor within 200 feet of any front lot line; that no fertilizer or manure shall be heaped, piled or stored within 100 feet of any side or rear lot line nor within 400 feet of any front lot line; that no building of more than two stories in height, run or enclosure for the housing or keeping of fowl, having 60 square feet of floor space or less, shall be within 15 feet of any side or rear lot line nor within 100 feet of any front lot line, which side and rear yard requirements shall be increased one foot and front yard requirements five feet, respectively, for each additional 60 square feet of floor space or fraction thereof, together with an additional fifty-foot setback for each story that the building housing fowl is over two feet in height (separate buildings to be cumulative as to the number of square feet for rear, side and front yard requirements); provided, however, that the maximum side and rear yard requirements shall be 200 feet and maximum front yard requirements 400 feet, plus 50 feet for each story above two stories as hereinabove set forth, provided that no animals or poultry may be kept or maintained unless adequate shelter is provided, and provided further that any structure erected for any of the foregoing purposes shall be accessory to a residential dwelling. Any uses permitted in this subsection shall be limited to an area of not less than five acres.
     
  4. Nancypenny

    Nancypenny New Egg

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    Feb 24, 2012
    thanks
     
  5. NJSean

    NJSean New Egg

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    May 6, 2011
    I live up in Andover, NJ and was just looking online. I couldn't find anything other than a noise ordinance for animals and birds. I'll probably have to call the town just to make sure.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences in this thread.
    Sean
     
  6. Attidog

    Attidog New Egg

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    Apr 27, 2012
    GardenState - sorry if I missed it, but what town were / are you in?
     
  7. mar123

    mar123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 2, 2012
    Because you probably can. don`t keeping on and on with them, because then they will started an ordinance about it just to keep you from getting chickens.
     
  8. Woodlotfarms

    Woodlotfarms New Egg

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    Aug 22, 2012
  9. DO UR RESEARCH

    DO UR RESEARCH New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2013
  10. klenkskluckers

    klenkskluckers Out Of The Brooder

    Anyone know about having chickens in oakhurst, monmouth county? I didn't know ot think about it before i bought them and my Mayor lives right behind me. I figured as ling as i keep clean/odor free and no roo mayb he won't notice. I don't want to call and ask town because than if I hav to give them up I know I won't so atleast I can play dumb now. But does anyone know the law in my town? It use to be a farming town thats y i didn't think about it being a problem
     

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