Where do you look to know?


11 Years
May 20, 2008
I am trying to find out what my local city/county laws and rights are in owning chickens where I live. Where does one look and go about finding such information? I want to make sure that I am allowed to keep roosters on the property and if there are any limits on how many chickens we are allowed to keep.

Thank you all for your assistance in this matter!!!
You're all the best!!!
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In the Brooder
11 Years
Jan 15, 2009
Flowery Branch, GA
Try you county zoning & planning and they should be able to tell you the ordianance or if you are within your city limits, call them.

You can also call your county extension agent also. Good luck!

Sonoran Silkies

Flock Mistress
11 Years
Jan 4, 2009
Tempe, Arizona
If you are in a city, check the zoning code for your zoning. If you are not within a city, check the same for your county. You can also look at state laws and read them to see if they apply.

big greg barker

11 Years
Oct 26, 2008
central maine
Go to the web site for your county/town/city, and look under statutes regarding animals. Don't just trust the officials to tell you the way it is, because sometimes they will just fabricate things because they don't know either.


10 Years
May 27, 2009
I would try to do this on the QT initially. If you contact the city, they may not really have an ordinance on the books but your contacting them may move them into doing so or cleaning up what they have so there are no problems.

You first have to determine what jurisdiction you are in. If you are in a municipality, go to their website and see if their zoning codes are posted. If not, get a hard copy of the entire zoning ordinance without telling them why you want it. If you are not in a city limits, you will be under the county or township. Usually you can have chickens in those situations.

You also may need to know what zoning category you are in. Most people will be residential or maybe estate.

SOme of these ordinances are vague so you may be able to take advantage of that.

If you find something, let me know and I can take a look at it. I am a lawyer and former planning commissioner. No charge for chicken lovers.


10 Years
Jun 8, 2009
The first thing to do would be to contact Animal Services for your city and ask them.

If you can't do that, then go to http://www.municode.com/Resources/OnlineLibrary.asp, select your state, and then look at the ordinances for your city. The relevant part you'll be looking for is Animals, and then there will probably be a section called Livestock under that.....though you might not find your entire answer there.

As an experiment, I did that search for Little Elm, Texas. While it has provisions about how to house and keep livestock, it doesn't specifically define what livestock is. So if I lived there, I'd have to get in contact with my city council to get that clarified.


11 Years
May 20, 2008
Thank you for all your help!!! I have spent at least 2 hours researching and looking for anything and all I can find is what our property is zoned and under that that I am not allowed to let my poultry/livestock run at large on public property or neighboring properties. Nothing at all about limiting/regulating what type or how many chickens we can keep. I did find that noises made naturally by livestock(of which poultry has been defined as being) are not to be included under the nuisance rule/law. So, I guess roosters are allowed being as they are considered livestock and we are allowed to keep livestock on the property. That's good news.


10 Years
May 4, 2009
Where I live, it's illegal to allow fowl to roam at large. And if they cause any damage to the neighbors, I can be taken to court, and I can be made to pay for their damges. Also where I live, I've been told by the Sherif that I have the right to protect my property, and if an animal (any animal) that has been allowed to roam at large, damages my property, I can shoot it. We don't have animal control here. I have a few choices, but amoung them is to shoot them.

I don't know a place in the U.S. where one doesn't have the right to protect their property in one way or another, and if you live in a rural zone, your neighbor most likely has the right to shoot any predators, including chickens. Remember, a predator doesn't have to be a dog, or a coyote. It can be anything that is causing harm or damage. And one has to admit, chickens sure are destructive.

You can call your Sherif if you can't find the information online to see what your rights are - and his.

However, I would do as you plan: put up that fence or make a big run for them to range in and don't listen to him. He sounds like a troublemaker from what you describe. Just cover your butt and do as you planned. Just make sure you can build a fence, as others have suggested.

For others who commented: I can think of many reasons why a neighbor would not want chickens on their property, among them is that they poop everywhere and they destroy your gardens and landscaping. For those who have put time and money into their gardens and landscaping, our wandering chickens cause damage to personal property. That said, everyone has the right to protect their property.

It may not be a big deal to us because we own chickens and we have modified our landscapes and gardens to prevent the chickens from destroying them - or we just tolerate them destroying stuff. Our property, our choice, right? But our neighbors are not expected to tolerate our animals, anymore than we have to tolerate theres. It goes both ways. And the law is on their side.

I understand that some of you think it's horrendous to shoot a chicken, dog, cat, buffalo, whatever. But the fact is, we all have the right to defend what's ours and it should be our right. As silly as it sounds to protect your porch from chicken poo (it smells, it's corrosive and our neighbors shouldn't have to drag a hose out every time our chickens poop on their porch), it's just as silly to them that we want to protect our "expendable" chickens. We can argue about our individual methods of protecting what's ours till we run out of breath and keel over, the fact is, the choice is ours.

If we all treated each other like we want to be treated, the pests and predators section would be very quiet.


11 Years
Nov 30, 2008
Well said! IMHO, we who have chickens are responsible for maintaining them well, and for being ambassadors to spead the word about the joys of the keeping of chooks.

I had to laugh when my friend's twenty-something daughter who lives in Providence, RI replied to my news of getting a mini-flock with "All the cool people in Providence have chickens."

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