1. GreenLivingNC

    GreenLivingNC Just Hatched

    Feb 16, 2017
    I finally achieved my lifelong goal of owning chickens this week. We recently moved into a house that had a chicken coop already established. We started this week with three hens and have enjoyed the eggs and companionship of having the chickens in the yard with us. Today our neighbor behind us, who is a police officer, came over to inform me that I wasn't allowed to let the chickens roam in the yard. I assumed that it would be okay as long as I was out there with them, but apparently not. Town ordinance says they must be in a pen. It was my fault for not checking on the rules more specifically but now I'm not sure what we should do. Their coop/ floor (run?)[​IMG] area is rather large for the three of them. I think it is about a total of 30 square feet with quite a bit of height for them to go up different levels on shelves and nesting boxes. I don't want to necessarily leave them in there all the time,but if that becomes my only option, is this for sufficient for them? If not,what suggestions do you have?
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy GreenLivingNC .. Welcome to BYC!

    I have a couple of ideas that might help.

    1. Is to build a chunnel [chicken tunnel] around the yard or to an area you could also fence off which is near somewhere you are a lot of the time.

    If you Google Chicken Tunnel images this might give you some ideas.

    2. Is to build a chicken tractor that you can move around the garden with the girls in it so that they could be close to you and then just pop them back in the main coop at bed time or do away with the main coop altogether and stick with a chicken tractor.

    With both of these methods the chickens are still technically ‘in a pen’ but still getting to move around the garden and be closer to you.

    Not sure if it technically qualifies as ‘in a pen’ but you could also harness train them. I have heard of people teaching their chickens to walk with a harness and lead.

    If you do have to keep them in the existing coop [which I have to admit sounds silly and I am glad we do not have those restrictions] this thread may be of assistance on how to keep them amused with some good tips on boredom busting: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1144804/topic-of-the-week-kitting-out-the-coop

    Hope that helps and best wishes!
    1 person likes this.
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I would find out how the town defines a pen. Is it a fenced in area, or does it have to have a roof etc? If just a fenced in area, consider electric net fence. It comes in 50, 100, 150 ft lengths, and can be setup in 10 minutes or so. I use it to protect my birds from predators, and love it. Here's a pic of it. I got mine from Premier1supplies.com.


    But plenty of chickens can live long happy lives in a coop / pen arrangement. Just give them extra greens and veggies if they don't have access to grass, weeds and bugs.
    1 person likes this.
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Can you post your town ordinance so we can see what it specifies? I would assume in this case an enclosed run would count as a "pen" but hard to say without knowing what the ordinance calls for.
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    Our chickens don't free range due to our many predators. The coop/run isn't visible from the house so it's impossible to "keep a eye" on them. They have a spacious 8' x 16' covered run (6 chickens). We give them fresh grass, veggies & fruit and the deep litter allows them to peck for bugs. They are healthy & happy.
  6. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    As BambrookBantams stated, a chicken tractor is an excellent idea. If you can fence them in and they manage to fly over, their wings can be clipped easily. Certain breeds, usually the heavier ones, you wouldn't have to worry about flying.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    First find a copy of the ordinance so you know exactly what the rules are, maybe your cop neighbor can help you with that.
    Meanwhile that's a nice space for them to stay 24/7 until you can decide what kind of run/pen you need o have and can build it.
    1 person likes this.
  8. GreenLivingNC

    GreenLivingNC Just Hatched

    Feb 16, 2017

  9. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    Unless I'm missing something, the rules look pretty clear to me. A tractor would not fit the rules as the coop has to be within the pen and the pen has to have walls a minimum of 6' high. It looks to me that you'll have to keep your birds inside the run (and you have adequate space for the number of chickens you have).

    Is anyone seeing something else?
  10. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
    Quote:I think I have seen tractors with a small enclosed roosting area(coop?) inside the movable structure. Some seem to be nearly 6 feet high, although since they are covered, I don't know why the height would matter....otherwise I would build an outdoor pen attached to the existing(beautiful & roomy!) coop.

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