Undercover Chicken Lovers

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by LuvMeChickens, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. LuvMeChickens

    LuvMeChickens New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    I recently ordered five hens for delivery in June. I will be keeping them for their eggs. I have checked out the local laws, codes and ordinances and I am allowed to apply for a license for up to 8 chickens (determined by the size of my lot). If approved, my chickens would have to be kept 25ft from the property line.... and that is the first reason I'm considering flying under the radar (pun intended [​IMG]). I have a corner of my yard right next to my shed that butts up to the property line. It's far from my neighbors (further than it would be if I moved it 25ft from the property line), the shed would make a perfect conversion for a coop, the privacy fencing on the exterior of the property would help contain noise and be easier to predator proof, and in short, it's perfect for chickens! But against the rules...

    [​IMG]


    A lesser (and probably more immature) reason I'm reluctant to apply for the license is that it asks for the names, addresses and phone numbers of my five closest neighbors. I'm assuming the licensing people will be seeking their approval. I've seen this mentioned before a few times but it seems very unfair that the fate of my hens rests on their approval when nobody asks me if I mind their dogs running around in the street, other dogs constantly shut out the house and barking, my neighbors' kids dropping trash all over my yard or always breaking my mailbox with their basketball. And I don't want to give the neighbors something to start paying attention to, and possibly making an issue of something they may not even notice if they aren't informed of.

    I'm wondering what the consequences are for keeping unlicensed chickens in an area that chickens are allowed to be kept. I am guessing that I would be fined and told to meet compliance within a certain time frame. Does anyone have any stories they would like to share about similar situations?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  2. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2012
    North Texas
    We have kept 10 chickens (7 large/3 bantam) in our suburban back lawn for two years, going on three. Our city updated the code of ordinances to permit chickens in all residential areas regardless of lot size. They stipulate some pretty interesting criteria for housing (way too little sq. ft. per bird). Also, the birds are supposed to be registered with the city - no license or fee. I've never registered my birds. Our coop is also a large 8 x 12 shed that was constructed and converted into a coop. We have a very large run which extends down the length of a side fence. The entire area is landscaped, and the coop/run isn't obvious. We do have a privacy fence, and our neighbors keep flocks as well (unregistered). There is no approval necessary from neighbors per our ordinance. I fear, however, that if we registered them it might precipitate a visit in order to check our coop/run size (which is to be a maximum of 40 sq. ft. combined). -could never keep my birds confined in cramped quarters, thus I'll continue to fly under the radar as well.

    We've experienced no complaints nor issues thus far. -and the city council is aware that I have birds (spoke on behalf of them at meetings in lieu of the ordinance adoption process).
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  3. LuvMeChickens

    LuvMeChickens New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    That's just nuts! You can keep chickens, as long as you do so in potentially unhealthy or unsanitary conditions. Haha. Gotta love "the man". I know at least one of my neighbors keeps chickens, as I see them wondering around unsupervised fairly regularly. Good for you for taking action to change ordinances.
     
  4. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2012
    North Texas
    Well, we are supposed to keep no more than four. Again, I would not keep four in a 40 sq. ft. area. Mine have tons of supervised access to the entire lawn, and good space in the coop/run. I want them to have plenty of room, good green forage, and space to dust, scratch, and roam. There were a lot of folks that spoke at the council meetings regarding chickens. The community and council really seemed in favor of the change. I think the council researched a bit and came to their conclusions based upon a common rule/guide for space. -don't think it was actually intentional, but they were just trying to set some sort of standards. (The public didn't have any say in this matter when they took a vote and drafted the final wording). Oh well.

    Good luck to you with your flock. That shed looks wonderful for converting to a coop!!
     
  5. LuvMeChickens

    LuvMeChickens New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    Ah, that makes more sense... the standard 10sf/chicken rule. Mine will have about 40sf each in the run and about 10 in the coop, but I would much rather free range them. Not sure if I will since it's against the rules and I really don't want to ask for trouble. I'm glad your council were so receptive to change, and thanks for the luck!
     
  6. jenniemig

    jenniemig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Hello all, this thread seemed so appropriate for me to post too!
    I have been and will soon again be an illegal chicken owner. Recently my city has started a pilot program permitting "backyard hens" which I do not qualify for because of zoning. I will not be keeping my hens at home in a residential neighborhood, but on property adjoining my business. About a year ago I purchased just over 3 acres and a 20,000 sq. ft. building that is zoned for commercial, 2+ of those acres are sitting empty. It is in a very quiet residential area off of the main roads. I am planning a large garden and about 6 laying hens. I have spoken with a few people with code enforcement, and others that have illegal chickens. All of them have said that as long as you're not blatant about it no one cares. So, my urban mini farm area will be set back off of the road and hopefully surrounded with blueberry bushes that will eventually camouflage my coop:)
     
  7. LuvMeChickens

    LuvMeChickens New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    Hi Jennie - good luck with the chickens! I have also spoken to code enforcement officers and got the same story. As long as you don't draw attention or cause trouble you should be fine. Are you getting hens or both hens and roosters? They will love the blueberry bushes!
     
  8. Sofi

    Sofi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 12, 2012
    Raleigh/Garner, NC
    I didn't ask permission either!! I don't even know what the ordinances are here. I know that as long as I:

    1- Keep my girls clean and the smell down
    2- Don't attract pests (see above)
    3- Don't have a loud @ss roo (although my neighbors deserve this because of their very annoying barking dogs 24/7)

    I will be bothering no one. And if every now and then they get some free eggs... They might even like my chickens!!


    Just be a good neighbor and you won't need to ask "the man" for permission!!

    That's my 2 cents.
     
  9. jenniemig

    jenniemig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Thanks Luv and Sofi. I am not planning any roosters, even though there are many hens and roosters that run wild in the neighborhood. When I had my girls before I kept 6 in my relatively small suburban backyard. I had them in a large chain link dog run with a hen house that looked more like a very large dog house, just in case any nosy neighbors peeked over the fence it appeared to be a K-9 enclosure. Most of the time the gate was open and they had free run of my backyard, and they kept most of the bugs off of my garden plants. I moved their enclosure regularly so that I could keep their area from getting muddy once they had eaten all of the grass/weeds. I got worried when one weekend we brought out boat home for some minor repairs and cleaning. It was still in the driveway on Monday morning, to be returned to the marina that afternoon. My neighbor on one side called the city because the trailer hitch was hanging about 3-4 inches over the sidewalk. The city gave me a warning and threatened a $250 fine if it wasn't moved immediately. Meanwhile this same person has several "outside" cats that used my raised garden beds as litter boxes. When I asked the city about the cat problem they blew me off, but rushed right out to fine me for a boat in my driveway. So, just to avoid future problems I found a home for my girls, and pulled up my raised beds and haven't gardened in a couple of years.

    Last May I purchased the commercial property and moved my business in. It is zoned for commercial use, but it situated in a very old rundown (1900's) residential neighborhood. In the area that I am putting my hens and garden I have 10+ acres of woods on the side that will probably never be developed, and behind is an overgrown rail spur (we own), a railroad track, then woods for several hundred feet before the next house. Unless someone is trespassing there will be no way for anyone to see my hens. Also, we're a manufacturing business that is not open to the public, so not just anyone drives onto our place. That all being said I think that I have a perfect location to keep the hens.
     

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