Getting a city to bump up the # of hens allowed

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by HJECG, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. HJECG

    HJECG Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2013
    USDA Zone 7
    Our city chicken rules went into effect almost 3 years ago after people who wanted backyard chickens organized and lobbied effectively. Previously, city dwellers couldn't keep any chickens. Now we can have up to 6 hens (no roosters) after going thru a really exhausting and expensive permitting application process. This mornjng I was chatting with the very nice animal control officer who oversees chicken permits and complaints, and she told me that so far, in our city of around 100k, I'm only the 43rd person to get a chicken keeping permit, and she also said that there have been almost no problems with chicken keeping in the city since the ordinance went into effect: no smell, disease, increased predators, noise - none of the things she was concerned about when City Council approved the ordinance. So I asked her whether she thought we' d ever be able to keep more than 6 hens legally, and she said she just didn't think so because that's the # most cities have settled on with their backyard chicken rules.

    So I'm wondering, why 6? Why do most municipalities use that flock size in their rules? Also, does anyone know of any cities where citizens have successfully lobbied to raise the backyard flock size limit beyond 6?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    We have about 95 cities in our county so we encounter every type of restriction you can imagine.

    IME, there are 2 reasons. City council members, for the most part, know nothing about chickens. They've never seen a backyard chicken flock and imagine the worst (a poultry farm with a hundred thousand chickens).

    The other reason is that when pressed to allow or make an ordinance, they lean on the city attorney. He doesn't know anything about chickens either and goes to the web to find what other cities do. Therefor the new ordinances, with rare exception, mimic those in virtually every other city with chicken ordinances.
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    I'd say the number is more likely to do with numbers of pets allowed in general. And that is pretty much what they are usually considered when allowed by city ordinances. FWIW, Phoenix allows up to 25, but only if there are no complaints.
  4. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2012
    6 is the number of chickens that it would take to keep a family of 4 or 5 with enough eggs to eat most of the time. Municipalities don't want chicken hoarders or people selling eggs. Its the limit in the city where I live and I agree with it
  5. manychitlens

    manychitlens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2014
    Northern California
    This is the exact topic I was looking for. :) FWIW my city only allows 3 hens (no roos). They just started allowing them a couple of years ago, and IMHO 3 is not enough! I have six people in my family and I don't think we will have enough eggs with just 3 hens. I would love to have 6!

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