Is a chicken considered a fowl or a bird? Can it be considered a pet?

FortCluck

Hatch-a-Long Queen
Premium Feather Member
Sep 9, 2019
21,242
92,804
1,237
Central Virginia
Have you considered working on changing the ordinance to allow hens? It's going to be heartbreak when your covert coop gets discovered and you have to rehome your hens.
This is the reason why I wouldn’t do it because why risk it when it clearly states they’re not allowed. Whether someone puts diapers on their chicken or not they’re barnyard animals. They’re not a pet, that was not their original intent. Humans have changed what a chicken is considered. They were never classified as a pet until not long ago.

Not saying it’s wrong to have them as a pet because the meaning of a chicken has changed in the human eye.

I have pet chickens but they live outside. I’m not letting them live inside with my dogs and cat. They have their home in their massive coop outside.

I see chickens as pets and food for my family... I have my pet chickens I use for breeding to create our families meat chickens. It’s enjoyable to me. All my breeders have names and they come to their names. I have so many gorgeous roosters, they don’t fight either.

I live in an agricultural area so chickens are no issue here. If it was the rules I couldn’t have them, I wouldn’t.
 
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Sleigh

In the Brooder
May 13, 2019
9
33
39
Washington
Hello,

I live in Southgate, MI and currently the ordinance states that fowl along with other “barnyard” animals are prohibited. I Have read that one option is to argue definitions and claim chickens are considered birds not fowl. Others believe that the city’s acceptance of your chickens would be permitted if you claimed them as a pet.

I simply want to have 4 chickens because they are beautiful to watch and to benefit from their egg laying capability. What, if anything, can I use to keep the city from fining me and/or ultimately forceI guess me to get rid of the chickens (once I get them or IF I get them).

Thank you and hopefully someone has some positive advice for me
Is this the code you are referencing?
No person shall keep or allow to be kept within the City any cows, horses, pigs, goats, pigeons, fowl or other domestic animals or insects, except birds, dogs, domestic felines, or other harmless domestic pets.

I don't think the "they are birds not fowl" argument will work. They are fowl by definition. Perhaps you could push the fact that they are also birds and a "harmless domestic pet."

My suggestion would be to petition the city to allow backyard flocks. If you know other people who are interested and would be willing to stand with you that could be helpful.

Also, this link may provide some ideas - https://backyardpoultry.iamcountrys...s-legalize-owning-chickens-in-your-community/

You could go the surreptitious route if you have agreeable neighbors and trees. Just build a coop, run, have a solid wood fence and keep the girls in your yard. In my neighborhood, people don't know the city code about chickens - we are allowed four hens. They just seemed excited and interested. Also, giving them eggs in the summer keeps us in good graces.

My caution - be ready to rehome your birds if you do decide to get them and the city finds out. Emotionally, it can be tough.

Best of luck. I hope more and more cities will be proactive in allowing them. Perhaps this is a good time to petition - people out of work, lost wages. It is a food supplement.
 
Nov 20, 2020
4
4
5
Is this the code you are referencing?
No person shall keep or allow to be kept within the City any cows, horses, pigs, goats, pigeons, fowl or other domestic animals or insects, except birds, dogs, domestic felines, or other harmless domestic pets.

I don't think the "they are birds not fowl" argument will work. They are fowl by definition. Perhaps you could push the fact that they are also birds and a "harmless domestic pet."

My suggestion would be to petition the city to allow backyard flocks. If you know other people who are interested and would be willing to stand with you that could be helpful.

Also, this link may provide some ideas - https://backyardpoultry.iamcountrys...s-legalize-owning-chickens-in-your-community/

You could go the surreptitious route if you have agreeable neighbors and trees. Just build a coop, run, have a solid wood fence and keep the girls in your yard. In my neighborhood, people don't know the city code about chickens - we are allowed four hens. They just seemed excited and interested. Also, giving them eggs in the summer keeps us in good graces.

My caution - be ready to rehome your birds if you do decide to get them and the city finds out. Emotionally, it can be tough.

Best of luck. I hope more and more cities will be proactive in allowing them. Perhaps this is a good time to petition - people out of work, lost wages. It is a food supplement.
Thank you for the great advice
 

Lyndzie

Chirping
Jul 31, 2020
75
100
60
Indianapolis, IN USA
I wasn't allowed to have "livestock" in my old neighborhood. I gave my neighbors free eggs now and then, and no one ever complained. I actually bought the eggs from the supermarket and repackaged them, because I only had 6 hens and they were not laying that many eggs.
i love this idea! I need to do this as a thank you for putting up with my rooster.
 

sdm111

Free Ranging
May 21, 2013
12,739
21,150
736
S. louisiana
They're fowl whichever way you want to skew the definition. And you're probably not going to change an ordinance you're not special you're just another citizen. If I were you I'd ask forgiveness and not permission. If you ask then you're putting yourself on their radar. Just do it what happens happens
 

SHeld

In the Brooder
Feb 11, 2020
45
44
33
Hello,

I live in Southgate, MI and currently the ordinance states that fowl along with other “barnyard” animals are prohibited. I Have read that one option is to argue definitions and claim chickens are considered birds not fowl. Others believe that the city’s acceptance of your chickens would be permitted if you claimed them as a pet.

I simply want to have 4 chickens because they are beautiful to watch and to benefit from their egg laying capability. What, if anything, can I use to keep the city from fining me and/or ultimately forceI guess me to get rid of the chickens (once I get them or IF I get them).

Thank you and hopefully someone has some positive advice for me
I too live in a city with an ordinance of no livestock. I like the idea they are birds, not stock. I only have 5, no rooster as that may be pushing it! One cannot see my chickens from the street. My neighbors know they are there but enjoy watching them as well. When I have an abundance of eggs I share. One neighbor loves caring for them when I’m gone. With plenty of ventilation, they do not smell bad.
My idea is plan carefully, talk to your neighbors, get to know other chicken growers in the area then just be quiet about it. It has worked for me for a couple of years now. They are quiet, more so than barking dogs!! I love my 4 ladies!!
 

2hotchicks

Songster
Sep 19, 2019
256
643
173
Southern Indiana
Hello,

I live in Southgate, MI and currently the ordinance states that fowl along with other “barnyard” animals are prohibited. I Have read that one option is to argue definitions and claim chickens are considered birds not fowl. Others believe that the city’s acceptance of your chickens would be permitted if you claimed them as a pet.

I simply want to have 4 chickens because they are beautiful to watch and to benefit from their egg laying capability. What, if anything, can I use to keep the city from fining me and/or ultimately forceI guess me to get rid of the chickens (once I get them or IF I get them).

Thank you and hopefully someone has some positive advice for me
I live in town & we are all allowed to keep up to 4 hens. My 2 ladies are absolutely my pets. They will get the same care whether or not they are giving me eggs. We don't eat our pets & that definitely includes my 2 hens
Good luck to you!
 

Peristeria

Chirping
Jul 4, 2020
171
192
73
USDA grow zone 7b
In my town, I was pushing my family to get chickens, but after reading the code it was illegal* so I re-read the laws and saw that they defined gamebirds and then said you could raise them! You had to have a license to breed/release but you can raise them. Yay! Now I have quail. They are quiet and lay eggs within 9-10 weeks! If you want to raise quail (I have never raised chickens but) I hear they are basically mini chickens, haha. I am blessed with sweet neighbors who also happen to have raised quail so it all worked out smoothly for me. I hope you can figure something out!! :hugs

*years ago there was a loophole where if they were fenced in you could keep them, but some people we knew did that and they changed the law, haha
 

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