Help me create the rules - from experienced chicken owners

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by tomp, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. tomp

    tomp New Egg

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    Sep 29, 2009
    Howdy,
    I am seeking advice on what experienced chicken keepers think the local laws -should- be. I am in a position where the new laws are not written yet and they are actually asking for suggestions on what the rules should be when they legalize chickens soon. I think it would be a good idea for experienced chicken owners to create the rules rather than letting city council staff try to figure it out.

    Please keep in mind that not everyone will keep up a coop and care for their chickens like you people would. Think of what some people will try and get away with. We don't want them to ruin it for the "good" chicken owners. Once they are legal I foresee some people picking up a couple of chicks on a whim, and just releasing them into their back yard - no coop or anything. I need some advice and wording that will prevent the inexperienced from ruining it for the rest of us.

    I already have a neighbor that has chickens, but no coop. Their yard has a 6ft cedar fence all around, but there are "obstacles" all around the yard that are right up next to the fence that the chickens are able to hop up onto as a stepping stone to getting over the fence. They have gotten out before by hopping over. The chickens huddle under the bushes when it rains. When they were chicks, the neighbor had put out an old plastic baby gate next the fence, with a piece of plywood over top and that was their "coop". The chickens are out night and day, even when everyone leaves for work or on vacation for the week. So if you see anything wrong with this picture, what rules and wording would you use to prevent people from sticking a plastic railing and plywood in place and calling it a coop? or not even having a coop and leaving for the week on vacation with the chickens out? Think of the neighbors, and protecting the chickens from predators too.

    So, for the rules:

    Should a coop be required? or is a 6ft fence around the yard good enough?

    If a coop is required, how would you describe what a coop is so people don't use plastic baby gates and plywood? (or is that sufficient? maybe I'm wrong?)

    Should it be required to keep the chicken's wings clipped?

    4 hens max? plus more based on sq footage? No roosters is obvious enough.

    Keep the chickens food in the coop? or out in the middle of the yard ok?

    should chickens be required to be locked up in the coop at night? (dusk to dawn?)

    or should chickens be kept in the coop at all times? with a completely enclosed chicken run attached as an option?

    coop 20ft from property line? or 20 ft from neighbors home with 5ft setback from prop line?

    coop must be neat, kept clean, and out of view - must not be a nuisance to neighbors visually or otherwise. (sound ok?)

    I hate permits and inspections, but do you think they should be required? An inspection may root out the unprepared rookies?

    No slaughtering? Hens must be raised for eggs, not for meat?

    Require supervision when the chickens are out of the coop?
    or at least require someone be home when the chickens are out so they can be contacted if the chickens escape?

    These are just things I found when browsing the internet. Feel free to add/remove in your suggestions.
    If there is already a thread about this, let me know. I couldn't find one.
    Thanks!
    Tom
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Should a coop be required? or is a 6ft fence around the yard good enough?
    Is this for the chicken's benefit or the neighborhood? If for the neighborhood, I would say~why would that matter? A chicken is a chicken, whether in a coop or in a yard. If for the chickens, I would say a reasonable shelter would be required, as for any animal. Fencing is a must, but 6 ft. seems a bit extreme. Who wants a 6 ft. fence across the front of their property?

    If a coop is required, how would you describe what a coop is so people don't use plastic baby gates and plywood? (or is that sufficient? maybe I'm wrong?) If you police this, then you would also have to police dog houses, children's playhouses, outbuildings, etc. Or do you already do this? I would think this would come under the heading of "reasonable shelter from rain and wind".

    Should it be required to keep the chicken's wings clipped?

    Confined to the yard/pen. If it takes clipping, then do so. If not, then, no.

    4 hens max? plus more based on sq footage? No roosters is obvious enough.

    Four to six seems reasonable~as long as the other rules are followed.

    Keep the chickens food in the coop? or out in the middle of the yard ok?

    Why would this even be an issue? Why would this even matter?

    should chickens be required to be locked up in the coop at night? (dusk to dawn?)

    Locked? Or just shut in? And, again, why would this matter? If they are confined to the yard, does it really matter where they roost?

    or should chickens be kept in the coop at all times? with a completely enclosed chicken run attached as an option?

    Cooped at all times is cruel. Would you keep a dog in a dog house at all times? I think confined to the yard and with proper shelter, is better for the hens and the neighborhood.


    coop 20ft from property line? or 20 ft from neighbors home with 5ft setback from prop line?

    Seems reasonable.

    coop must be neat, kept clean, and out of view - must not be a nuisance to neighbors visually or otherwise. (sound ok?)

    Neat, clean, odor free.......out of view? Why? Is a coop and chickens considered an eyesore where you are from? Are the dog houses out of view? Also the dogs? They are animals, for pete's sake! How ugly can they be?

    I hate permits and inspections, but do you think they should be required? An inspection may root out the unprepared rookies?

    A permit, low fee, should be required, with the rules clearly stated and signed. No inspection unless complaint lodged.

    No slaughtering? Hens must be raised for eggs, not for meat?

    Are you kidding? Why no slaughtering? It's not like folks would be running a slaughter house and piling up offal. Four to six hens would hardly take an hour or more to dispatch. The remains could be double bagged and disposed of in regular trash. I would say slaughtering discreetly. What would one do with these hens when they no longer lay?

    Require supervision when the chickens are out of the coop?
    or at least require someone be home when the chickens are out so they can be contacted if the chickens escape?


    Again, do dogs in enclosed yards have to be supervised at all times? Animals will get out...this is a fact. A loose chicken is not going to be attacking small children and tearing up trash cans. It's an inconvenience, not a hazard.


    These are just things I found when browsing the internet. Feel free to add/remove in your suggestions.
    If there is already a thread about this, let me know. I couldn't find one.
    Thanks!​
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  3. AZKat

    AZKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Should a coop be required? or is a 6ft fence around the yard good enough?

    If a coop is required, how would you describe what a coop is so people don't use plastic baby gates and plywood? (or is that sufficient? maybe I'm wrong?)

    I think that people should be allowed to make their own choices about their chicken's housing. I don't know where you live, but in a hot climate a minimal coop can be better than a tightly enclosed one. Also, some people like to brood outside in a dog kennel or similar. There isn't any reason not to allow that.
    Should it be required to keep the chicken's wings clipped?

    I think it would be enough to say that the birds are not allowed to run loose through the neighborhood, and let the owners figure out how to make that happen.
    4 hens max? plus more based on sq footage? No roosters is obvious enough.

    Honestly, I think that the best way to handle it is to allow roosters unless they are a noise problem. 4-6 hens is pretty standard, though.

    Keep the chickens food in the coop? or out in the middle of the yard ok?

    Does it matter? It might be worthwhile to say that the food has to be kept so that it doesn't draw vermin, but I don't think it should be a crime to throw a handful of scratch on the ground.

    should chickens be required to be locked up in the coop at night? (dusk to dawn?)

    Why? Again, let people do as they like with their animals.
    or should chickens be kept in the coop at all times? with a completely enclosed chicken run attached as an option?

    It isn't uncommon for cities to require that the chickens be kept enclosed, I think its better to give people the option of letting their birds run around the back yard, as long as they don't get out of the yard.

    coop 20ft from property line? or 20 ft from neighbors home with 5ft setback from prop line

    ?

    20 feet from the neighbor's house seems reasonable to me. I don't see the need for setbacks, honestly.

    coop must be neat, kept clean, and out of view - must not be a nuisance to neighbors visually or otherwise. (sound ok?)

    Go ahead and specify that it has to be kept clean, even that it needs to cleaned once a week or whatever. However, 'out of view' is just asking for trouble, in my opinion. I've heard too many stories of people who managed to get 'in view' defined as 'I can see it if I look into your back yard from my upstairs window'.

    I hate permits and inspections, but do you think they should be required? An inspection may root out the unprepared rookies?

    No inspections.

    No slaughtering? Hens must be raised for eggs, not for meat?

    Why not let people slaughter if they need or want to?

    Require supervision when the chickens are out of the coop?
    or at least require someone be home when the chickens are out so they can be contacted if the chickens escape?

    Why? Dogs and cats are allowed to be in the back yard with no supervision, the rules for chickens should be no different. Obviously, there needs to be a mechanism in place if someone's birds are constantly getting out and creating a disturbance. But it really isn't a bigger deal than a dog getting out and needing to be brought home.​
     
  4. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2009
    North Carolina Sandhills
    As a matter of respect for individual freedom the rules should be minimal:

    No nuisance.
    Crowing in a densely built area, odor detectable on neighbor's property, build up of vermin population, etc. The same nuisance criteria used for dogs and cats.

    No roaming. Birds remain on the owner's property or under the owner's control at all times just like leash laws for dogs and cats.

    No cruelty/neglect.
    Details of coop construction are NOT the business of the government. While the OP's case is extreme and may cross over the line into neglect, in my part of the country a simple range shelter consisting only of a slanted roof to provide shade and shelter from rain inside a predator-proof fence is ideal housing during the summer months.

    No limits on numbers of birds
    until they become a nuisance as defined above. Many ordinances I've seen permit 3 or 4 hens. Of what use is that to my family of 6? What use would 6 hens be to a family of 8 or 10?

    No restrictions on the purpose of the birds.
    Why shouldn't I be allowed to put 25 meaties on an unused garden bed for the 8-12 weeks it takes to raise them as long as I don't allow them to become a nuisance? Or even 50 meaties if I had the space?

    In a free country a person should have the right to use his/her property as he/she sees fit unless it presents an active, negative impact on someone else's property. [​IMG]

    Additionally, any complaints should be considered for reasonableness based on the principle of personal freedom. Being visible across a property line is not an active, negative impact. Being audible at a low volume (in the vicinity of human conversation, wild birdsong), is not an active, negative impact. etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  5. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Who cares what my shelter is. The requirement should be the same as for other animals = feed/water/shelter. The government shouldn't tell me what kind of coop because they don't say what kind of dog house, or cattle shed, they just say "shelter must be provided"
    Same goes with food. They don't say where the dog food bowl has to be, just that it needs to be provided so the same should go with chickens.

    My chickens stay in a 5ft fence, who cares how high my fence is so long as they stay in my yard? Same for wing clipping, that would be like requiring to hobble your horses when a simple fence would keep them contained. Who cares if the wings are clipped so long as the chickens are't escaping constantly? Also who would check/enforce that kind of thing. Remember your city is going to be thinking "how can we afford to enforce xyz" the regular animal control should be able to maintain that the animals have food/water/shelter, but wing clipping and measuring the distance from the coop to the property lines??

    Again, do dogs, horses, cattle, and other animals that are kept have to be constrained in a doghouse, barn, or small corral? If they can roam the fenced yard, then so can the chickens. Do you require to lock up the dogs at night? Same should go for chickens and again - who is going to drive around and check? People supervise their ranging chickens and lock them up at night based on their experiences with predators - let the people decide how to manage their own flock (so long as it's in their own yard)

    I can use my animals however I please, for meat or eggs or companionship. It's not your business. If there's no rules against cleaning/processing hunting type game meats, then there shouldn't be any against processing tame meat either.
     
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    Quote:No
    coop 20ft from property line? or 20 ft from neighbors home with 5ft setback from prop line?

    coop must be neat, kept clean, and out of view - must not be a nuisance to neighbors visually or otherwise. (sound ok?)

    I hate permits and inspections, but do you think they should be required? An inspection may root out the unprepared rookies?

    No slaughtering? Hens must be raised for eggs, not for meat?

    Require supervision when the chickens are out of the coop?
    or at least require someone be home when the chickens are out so they can be contacted if the chickens escape?

    No

    These are just things I found when browsing the internet. Feel free to add/remove in your suggestions.
    If there is already a thread about this, let me know. I couldn't find one.
    Thanks!
    Tom​
     
  7. SarasotaClucker

    SarasotaClucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Tom.. I suspect a lot of this has to do with your neighborhood context. Big lots? Small lots? Freezing weather or subtropical? Nature and number of predators?

    Should a coop be required? or is a 6ft fence around the yard good enough? Depends on predators and weather. Ideally fence should be opaque to keep dogs etc from getting motivated


    If a coop is required, how would you describe what a coop is so people don't use plastic baby gates and plywood? (or is that sufficient? maybe I'm wrong?) Has to shelter birds from elements (including freezes), and protect from predators. If they don't they will lose birds.

    Should it be required to keep the chicken's wings clipped?
    Never clip wings, sometimes clip individual flight feathers on either side of the central rachis. They will grow back intact feathers when they moult.

    4 hens max? plus more based on sq footage? No roosters is obvious enough. max depends on lot size and family need

    Keep the chickens food in the coop? or out in the middle of the yard ok? In many areas out in yard will become generic wildlife feeder

    should chickens be required to be locked up in the coop at night? (dusk to dawn?) Depends on predator threat. If you dont confine at night, may be hard to find where they are laying

    or should chickens be kept in the coop at all times? with a completely enclosed chicken run attached as an option? Run or yard is important.

    coop 20ft from property line? or 20 ft from neighbors home with 5ft setback from prop line? Or 5' from property line for each chicken or setback one fifth of the yard?

    coop must be neat, kept clean, and out of view - must not be a nuisance to neighbors visually or otherwise. (sound ok?) sure

    I hate permits and inspections, but do you think they should be required? An inspection may root out the unprepared rookies? Inspection seems like overkill to me and a cost to government. Permit or simple registry may be enough.

    No slaughtering? Hens must be raised for eggs, not for meat? Stay silent on this matter. If pushed there are two different questions here: can you eat one if it dies and can you kill them?

    Require supervision when the chickens are out of the coop?
    or at least require someone be home when the chickens are out so they can be contacted if the chickens escape? Not a requirement, more like common sense in areas with predator problems

    These are just things I found when browsing the internet. Feel free to add/remove in your suggestions.
    If there is already a thread about this, let me know. I couldn't find one.
    Thanks!
    Tom
     

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