chickens and manure runoff issues


Ordinance Wrangler
10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Hi! I'm doing research for my city to try to convince them to exempt chickens from their proposed new ordinance prohibiting 'farm animals' on lots under three acres.

One issue that keeps getting raised is that of runoff. I'm having a hard time finding anything about the relative amount of possible runoff from a small backyard flock -- everything's about the huge poultry factory farms and their runoff issues. Does anyone know where I might find an expert who can speak to the issue? It would help to be able to tell the city that for those of us who wish to continue to eat eggs, backyard chickens are the solution, not part of the problem.

Thanks for any help or insight!

I don't know what city or state you are in, but I'd suggest calling your county cooperative extension agent, in the phone book under county government or you can get the number online. The agent will probably not be able to answer your question directly but will know experts who can.

Here in Fayetteville, when the ordinance to keep chickens in the city limits was passed, the county extension agent organized a class to teach people about keeping chickens. Topics were breeds, housing, and diseases and pests. Just a thought.

Good luck!
The run off from a small backyard flock should be almost non existent. My run is sloped so it all drains off to one side and the only difference I've seen is the grass grows faster and the roses are HAPPY, but that only extends about a foot beyond the endge of the run. Next year I'm planting corn on the downslope side to see how that does. If I lived in town I'd be harnessing that nutrient movement for my flower beds.

I have 5 ducks and 6 chickens in the run.
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Columbiacritter, so even on a slope, you only see evidence of runoff about a foot from your run?
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I agree. Most land grant universities( ag schools) have done extensive research on this and while geared to larger operations, their expertise will mean more when they say dont worry about it to the council than it would for you to say so. The Ag extension folks are the way to tap into that knowledge.

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