Chickens 101: Are Backyard Chickens Legal?

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I currently live in a very rural area on a 3-acre property, so luckily, I don’t have to worry about whether my chickens are breaking the law while hanging out in their coop eating my leftover salad lettuce. However, some of my close friends live in towns or even larger cities and just, because they don’t have a big property doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the choice of stepping out their door for fresh eggs…should it?

If you’ve thought about raising chickens where you live, before you even check out chicken breeds and research layer feed, the first thing you need to check into is whether backyard chickens are legal in your area.

Unfortunately, the laws vary greatly between not only States but Counties and even towns or neighborhoods. You may need to check with not only your local officials but your homeowner’s association if you have one. Also, legally you shouldn’t need to, but just to be neighborly, you might want to tell your nearest neighbors of your plans to raise chickens, especially if you plan on having a rooster!

How Do I Check If My Chickens Are Break the Law?

Want to know if you’re chickens are breaking the law by setting up housekeeping in your backyard? The place you want to check is your local city ordinance office or if you live in a rural area, your county clerks office. Check BEFORE you buy your chickens as you don’t want to go on a hunt for foster or adoptive homes for your chicks after the fact.

What Questions Do I Ask About My Chickens?

Before you go, it’s good to know what to ask. Don’t just ask if you can keep chickens, you want all the facts on hand. Ask these questions to make sure you cover all your bases.

How Many Chickens Can I Keep?

  • Can I keep roosters and chickens or just chickens?
  • Is there a limit to the number of roosters I can have on my property?
  • Do I need to inform my neighbors before getting my chickens?
  • Is there a permit required to keep my chickens?
  • Is there enclosure or fencing requirements for keeping chickens in my area?
  • Can I slaughter chickens for food or just keep them for eggs?
  • After you’ve got your answers to your chicken questions, you’re ready to become a Chicken Mama! Or Daddy!

Happy Chicken Raising! And enjoy those fresh eggs!