Chickens Cited- Memphis TN

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Chef Chicken Jimmy, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Chef Chicken Jimmy

    Chef Chicken Jimmy New Egg

    Sep 14, 2008
    I have received a citation stating that "CHickens and Roosters" are not allowed in residential zones from the Memphis City and Shelby County Construction Code Enforcement Office. I was informed by Animal Control that they are legal as long as they have food, water, shelter and are in an enclosed space. Mine have all of the above and heat and lights. The code states that "Livestock, Poultry, Dairy Products and Egg Products" are not allowed in residential zones. I asked for the definitions of poultry, and egg products and was told there were none, but there are definitions for EVERYTHING in the codes. So, when I have to go to court for this, should I start with the fact that everyone in the room is in violation if they have eggs in the icebox or a turkey in the freezer? or should I run the gamut with everything that pretty much anyone does, from gardening to baking bread that could be cited with this really poorly phrased, under defined code system? Or perhaps I should start calling in violations on all of my neighbors as they come home with milk, mayo, or compost? I dunno I am amazingly frustrated and not sure how best to approach this. Suggestions? Comments? by the by the code cited is 3064 section 21 chart 1
  2. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Chef, I made inquiries for poultry keeping in the Nashville area, and I sometimes got differing answers from city vs. county folks. Where I get suspicious is when I get a vague or general answer; this tells me the individual cannot find anything that specifically prohibits backyard poultry.

    For those interested, I am posting the quoted code information I was sent for Nashville/Metro Davidson County, with the hope that the information in it might be valuable even to those not in the area.

    Link to thread on this is here:

    may have a shot at this by declaring your poultry to be pets, show birds, or even get "involved" in your local 4-H. I have seen others who managed to keep otherwise prohibited birds this way.

    Good luck!
  3. bobpick

    bobpick New Egg

    Jan 28, 2009
    NE PA
    There is a concept in the law that "voids" a law for vagueness, in fact it's called "Void for vagueness". If the specifics of what is considered to be poultry (turkey, pheasants, etc) is not outlined and the legislature has left it blank, then the courts SHOULD dismiss it.

    That being said the judges have sometime legislated from the bench. Contact your local state rep and see what he can do to help you.
  4. Theda's Mom

    Theda's Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2007
    Moscow TN
    Chief Chicken, how did your case turn out? I'm curious because I'm moving to the Memphis area next summer and surely want to continue keeping chickens!


  5. fdodgen

    fdodgen Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 6, 2009
    From Millington, TN. Just curious how the case is progressing?

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