City ordinance help.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Dec 22, 2009
Apparently my flock is not allowed to "free range" (roam around while im gardening) in my backyard . They are to be secured in a pen at all time regardless. Any ideas how to change this ordinance?
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I think you'll find that VERY few cities are going to allow free ranging as a legal option. It's a big step in a lot of cities just to have the ordinances changed so that people can legally keep chickens at all.

A suggestion might be for you to make and use a "chicken tractor" instead. This is a small pen that you move around the backyard. Your birds get the benefit of being outside in your yard but are still confined.
Can you quote the entire section that is pertinent? In most places you must keep your animals from being at-large, which is uncontrolled wandering off your own property, but are allowed to have them wandering IN your yard. The general nuisance concerns with chickens are noise and odor to neighbors, thus it is common to have specific setbacks for coop placement.
Is your backyard fenced? I don't see how that's different? If it's not fenced, I can see having them contained somehow. The darn things don't respect property lines!
Sec. 5-98. Pens and coops; location.
(a) All fowl and rabbits shall be kept within a pen, coop or hutch. A fenced yard shall not qualify as a pen or coop.
(b) Any person keeping or harboring any animal, other than livestock or fowl, shall locate any pen, coop, hutch, or other housing at least 50 feet from any residence, excluding the residence of the person keeping or harboring the animals.
(Ord. No. 1999-30, § 1, 8-17-99; Ord. No. 2001-53, § 1, 9-18-01)

Yes the backyard is fully fenced on all sides.
For me, a "pen" means an outside fenced area separate from the house. If you can "pen" them in a way that meets the setback requirement, I think you should be fine and they will be outside.
They have a pen in the backyard but it doesn't have any grass left,thats why i let them roam with me for forage.
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A tractor, as previously mentioned will do the job. If no one is complaining about them being out, they do not escape the yard, and only range when you are with them, I would not worry about it. If someone is complaining, use the tractor to contain them as they weed and perform pest control duties in places other than their pen.

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