moving considerations?


10 Years
Jun 13, 2009
I am in the process of buying a house (my first,yay!). One of the things I am most looking forward to is being able to start a small flock of hens (also my first, yay!). I have checked the city ordinances and chickens are allowed in the city (25 max with sq. footage minimums per bird). I also plan to stay away from subdivisions with HOAs. Is there anything else I need to consider, either about the legal side or the house/yard itself?
Not only do you have to watch for HOA's but covenants as well which seem to be less likely to be disclosed, at least in my case...
I hadn't thought about covenants existing int he absence of HOA's, but I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the advice!
this is not related, but being a realtor, the first thing that popped in my head when I saw this is your first home is, YOU WILL GET 10%, UP TO $8000, BACK BECAUSE ITS YOUR FIRST TIME HOME PURCHASE!! Did you know this? Be sure and take your mortgage papers or cash or however you buy it, to your tax person and have them file an amendment to your 2009 taxes. If you haven't owned a home for 3 years, you are eligible also. Think about special chickens and chicken house that 10% will do!!!! Just wanted to make sure you were aware of this. Only catch is you have to live there 3 years, or you will pay it back with income tax.

Good luck finding your dream house & getting chickens

You may want to check out the neighborhood for predators and chicken hating psychos.

I do know about and qualify for the tax credit. Plus, Georgia has a state credit for $1800. I was planning to buy this year or next anyway, but that has definitely sweetened the pot. And yes, that money will buy a sweet coop!
I am an attorney and former planning commissioner and recent chicken owner.

It's good you are thinking about this ahead of time. Since offering to help people out with these problems about a week ago, I have gotten several emails from folks who went ahead and got chickens without checking things out first and may now have to give them up and lose the money they invested in their coops, etc.

Some thoughts on the process:

(1) You are better off in an unincorporated area (outside of any city limits);

(2) Stay away from any gated anythings;

(3) Stay away from subdivisions;

(4) Get as large a lot as possible;

(5) See what kind of homes other have in the immediate area. Stay away from McMansion Land.

(6) See if your state has "right to farm" laws. You can still be sued for "nuisance" regardless of the zoning rules, especially if you have a bunch of roosters crowing or get a large flock. Right to Farm laws generally protect whoever gets their first and establishes the use from newer arrivals and may be even more expansive than that in some states.

This may mean you are spending more money on land and perhaps not getting as many amenities with the house but if you want chickens, that's the safest course.
That's what I thought at first too, but that appears to not be the case here in Atlanta. The city of Atlanta (and nearby Decatur) allow chickens, but most of the close-in unincorporated areas specifically ban them. I was surprised by that; I really expected it to be the other way around.

As for McMansion Land, that won't be a concern. I don't like that style of house and I can't afford it anyway!

I'd like to get an acre, but that's hard to find and pricey in Atlanta. What would you consider the minimum lot size to comfortably keep chickens without bothering the neighbors?

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