Can I Have a Chicken in My Backyard?
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on April 05, 2023
Raising backyard chickens is an exciting adventure, but can also be a drastic life change for many families. Like any other big life event, proper research and preparation are necessary. For instance, did you know that many towns have regulations on backyard chickens? Some even prohibit chicken raising in your backyard. Before you purchase chicks, it is essential to make sure that you can raise them legally while having enough space to avoid complaints from your neighbors. Once you understand the legal and social expectations, you will be ready to take the first step in your new journey. If you are unsure how to determine your town’s ordinances surrounding backyard chicken raising, we can help you figure it out.
Can I Raise Chickens in My Backyard?
Are you looking into raising chickens but do not have a vast property to homestead? Chickens are small animals that do not require a large farm. While having extra space for your flock to roam and forge is great, chicken coops must only be 3 to 5 square feet per bird. If you choose an enclosed coop for your flock, it must have 8 to 10 square feet per bird. This makes them excellent backyard pets. Many families find having a backyard flock extremely beneficial, with fresh eggs at the top.
When you raise chickens in your backyard, you must have a durable and safe coop to house your flock. There is a wide range of options, and you will be able to find the perfect coop for your needs. The options are endless, from enclosed or free-range coops to portable or stationary, to DIY or pre-built coops.
Each option has pros and cons, so researching cost, materials, size, and maintenance is important before you make a big purchase. However, before buying the necessary supplies and equipment to care for your flock properly, you must ensure you are legally allowed to raise backyard chickens.
Where to Start
There is only one way to know if you can have backyard chickens. Contacting or looking online for your local laws is necessary. Just looking up state laws may not give you accurate information. Each city changes its rules and regulations, and it can be confusing to keep up with. There is no comprehensive database where you can search the rules for your area, and printed information can become outdated so make sure you call or check online for more information.
That is why reaching out to your local government is the best option. The administrators can point you in the right direction or find the information you seek. Rural areas will not encounter much trouble when it comes to raising chickens, but suburban and urban families may find that their local government has strict laws against it.
Another aspect to consider is your local homeowner’s association (HOA). While this may not apply to everyone, HOAs have guidelines and rules that residents must follow. If you fall under an HOA, you must ensure that backyard chickens are pre-approved. Otherwise, they can give you additional fines separate from the city. If your local government or HOA has strict laws against backyard chicken raising, you may need to put the passion on the back burner may be one of the best options for the near future.
Be Courteous to Your Neighbors
Even if your HOA and local government allow backyard chickens, informing your neighbors before your flock arrives is always a good idea. While they certainly cannot dictate what you do on your property, it is a much better idea to initiate a conversation so they are not caught off guard when your chicks arrive. Your chickens will likely affect your neighbors. If you do not have a fenced-in backyard and want your hens to be able to free range at times throughout the day, a lone straggler could end up forging in their backyard.
Hens are relatively quiet pets but can be slightly noisy after laying their eggs. Roosters, on the other hand, can be loud and obnoxious at times. They make the most noise in a flock but are not necessary for your hens to lay eggs. If you choose to have a rooster, this is where it can get dicey with the neighbors.
If your neighbors seem hesitant about the idea of having chickens next door, consider ways that you can sway their opinions. Grumpy or complaining neighbors are not fun to deal with, so if you can avoid that situation, it will be for the best. Consider occasionally sharing fresh eggs with your neighbors or letting their curious kids play with the chickens. Getting your neighbors on board with your new adventure will make the process sweeter, no matter your chosen tactic.
A Guide to Getting Backyard Chickens
If you have asked yourself, “Can I have a chicken in my backyard?” and concluded that you could legally and socially have chickens, you can begin preparing for this new adventure. Once you have all your ducks in a row and are confident about raising backyard chickens, it is time to get them.
The next step will be to choose which breed of chickens you want to raise, how many birds should be in your flock, and where to buy your chicks. You do not have to figure out this part of the process alone; download our free guide, The Beginner's Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens, to help you take the next steps toward raising chickens.