Need help changing law in Clay NY...


6 Years
Sep 21, 2013
Hello All,

This my first post so I should say hello with a quick introduction. We are a family of 4 in Clay NY. We recently lost a close family member to breast cancer and it had us stop and rethink what we are doing. We decided one part of changing our lifestyle for the better would be raising back yard chickens for eggs and then meat to eat healthier. Also would be a great example for our kids to understand food and where it comes from and the work involved with raising it. The most gratifying part will be eating an egg and chicken that we know 100% what it was exposed to, how it was handled, what it was fed, what it drank and to know 100% that it is completely safe to eat because to be honestly with you I don't feel 100% safe with anything I buy at the grocery store lately and I feel as a father it is my responsibility to make sure we are making the best choices on what we are putting into our mouths/bodies.

After tons of research we were ready to really get our feet wet and get our plan moving. First stop was to the town office. Well we found out that you need over 5 acres in our town in order to have chickens. I only have I believe 3/4 of an acre. I asked the codes officer what the reasoning was for all the land requirement. His response was that they don't want chickens flying around all over town. I asked what if someone had a completely enclosed pen with a few chickens that had ZERO chance of escaping. He said then we also have the problem and worry about becoming a nuisance to neighbors with the noise. I said well what if we outlaw the Rooster which makes all the noise and only allow the hens which are fairly quiet. Probably quieter than most neighborhood dogs we legally allow. I said I would even take it a step more and get ALL my neighbors permission before even proceeding. At this point he said the law is the law, i'm sorry. So I said I understand that. Now what would one need to do to change this law?

He then advised me I would need to show up to the town board meeting which is held every 1st and 3rd Monday night. I believe that was the night he said I still have to look into it. I asked if I needed to fill anything out to get on the agenda and he stated no. Just show up and at the beginning they will ask if anyone has anything they would like to talk about before their agenda. That is when I would present my case.

I just joined this site a few days ago to get info on raising chickens. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have to be fighting to have laws changed to raise them. I did a quick search on here and see the very next town over, which is where I grew up my entire life, Liverpool NY has passed the laws it is ok to have chickens. Of course you have to jump through their hoops but they are a tiny village and most lots have 1/2 the land we have here in Clay. Its a mostly uptight community of commercial buildings and residential homes which are mostly older adult couples. The town of Clay is mostly farm land that has been converted over to residential neighborhoods in recent years. We still have farm plots blotted in between the neighborhoods. I have dealt with the town in the past. We pulled a permit to put in our pool, we pulled a permit to do some construction in our home and add a bathroom. We have followed all the rules to the T and have been on the towns good side, at least I think we are on their good side. And I would like to be able to continue that relationship, hopefully get the law changed for my family as well as any future family that comes along to raise chickens responsibly and reasonably.

Well that brings me here. Where do I even start? What do I even do? I was enjoying coming up with the plans of our coop and how we would make a nice home to keep our hens happy. But I am feeling overwhelmed at this point. My fiancee wants me to walk away and forget about it (This was her idea in the first place) in fear it will be to much trouble and costly for us.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks from the Clay Family.
Maybe our powerpoint presentation we used here in Cedar Park, TX will be of some help. We have not YET gotten our ordinance changed but feel it will happen once we have all members at the next board meeting and we address their latest concerns. Chicken Ownership Cedar Park by DColdwell.pdf

Flower Mound, TX also has a wonderful presentation that really overcomes (in my mind) any obstacles. Good luck!
I'm in Liverpool/Clay also, and noted the date you posted this was about a year ago. Has there been any progress made with Clay? I have a Liverpool mailing address, but I think I'm zoned in Clay.

My family and I have recently discovered and found new interest in maybe raising 3 chickens. Doing my research before we do anything else... Thanks!

I'm curious how this turned out as well. I'm also a Clay resident and we've considered the idea of backyard chickens in the past. Having to get some sort of variance or actually change the ordinance seemed like more trouble than I was interested in, however, so I haven't pursued it.
I am in town of Salina and have court the 17th of July. This will be appeals court and could set a precedent on chickens for the entire town. If you have any info on outcomes of other local cases let me know !!! I'm fighting for the girls !

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