Well, count me among those now challenges city chicken laws


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 24, 2011
I'm new to this forum and live in a small city in Ohio. I purchased six chicks on April 1 and they've been happily living at my house until yesterday. I've provided them with a large coop, made from scratch and housed inside my garage (a coop within a building, if you will) with a ramp and access to a fully enclosed run behind my garage. For nearly two months all was well, until a neighbor complained and the city posted a warning note on my property yesterday. I assume because one rooster has begun to crow (I planned to eat him when he got just a bit larger because I don't need the noise either), a neighbor heard him and complained. They certainly couldn't see the chickens without stepping onto my property.

The city said that chickens are not domestic animals and aren't permitted inside the city limits. But our local animal ordinance/development code states that "only domestic animals" are permitted at residences within city limits. It defines "domestic animal" as "A cat, dog, or other small animal of the types commonly maintained as household pets."

That's pretty vague and seems open to interpretation. No law specifically prohibits chickens or fowl. It merely states domestic animals commonly kept as pets. As I told the guys in the building department, whom I'm pretty friendly with since I own multiple properties in town, "common" is in the eye of the beholder. Thousands of people, including Tori Spelling no less, own pet chickens. To me, that seems very, very common indeed.

I submitted an appeal, along with more than half a dozen recent newspaper articles on people keeping chickens as pets, and received a variance permit for my chickens this morning. I get to have a hearing with the board of zoning appeals in mid-June. So my cheeps are at least legal until then. I'm hoping for the best. I keep the chickens well-fed, watered and I clean up after them a couple times a week so that there's no odor at all coming from my property. Even the one rooster, who has just begun making noise, isn't even as loud as a barking dog. He never crows at night either, unlike some dogs I know.

Has anyone been through this process before and won their case? How did you do it? Obviously, I'm going to read through previous posts in this forum and other references to put together a strong case. Any advice or words of encouragement are appreciated.
Oh no! Isn't that disheartening! Please keep us posted on how it goes - from what I've been reading most Cities allow them but have limitations on how many and usually no Roosters. Even People in NYC have chickens! Maybe as an argument you could pull together some other places with "city limits" that allow chickens in your area.
What a great idea. Thank you for that advice. I will gather a list of various cities that do allow chickens/hens. And if anyone here wishes to help, I'd love it if you replied to this thread with the name of your incorporated town/city/village and state that allows chickens. That would be that much more helpful. Thanks again!
I did a little searching (I'm a research fanatic). I don't know what town you are in but here is another thread pertaining to Ohio(Clevelend mostly) and chicken laws. Heck if Cleveland allows it i can't imagine smaller towns couldn't be convinced. I think you have a good case. Probably have to get rid of the Roo though.

A chicken indeed can be a pet. I love my chickens so much!!! more than being pets tell the judge that you do not want to eat hormone infested eggs anymore. your PET chickens just happen to also make eggs for you!!

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I live in Kingsport, TN and there are currently no city ordinances against having chickens inside our city limits. Not a huge city, but a city nonetheless. Good luck w/ your case(I hope you win)
Thank you for all of the great comments of support and your suggestions. One of the stories I provided with my appeal is a Wall Street Journal article that talks about chicken saddles and diapers! I think I'm operating on the same wave length as some of you :)

I have no problem with getting rid of the roosters. I don't mind their noise. But I'm not interested in waking anyone up in the neighborhood, and I'm not interested in breeding a bigger flock, which is inevitable with roosters.

I'll keep you posted with more details as they hatch...

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