Thursday, April 17, 2014

Research Q of the Week: Chicken Talk and Questionable Comedy (4/17)

Question: What happened when the chicken crossed the street?

Answer: It depends on your city’s ordinance. Okay, that may not have been the best joke, but chickens seem to be the talk of cities lately. Like other animals, cities take different approaches for regulating chickens. Some cities include chickens in the same regulations that apply to other farm animals or livestock. Other cities have ordinances that allow chickens in the city under certain circumstances. However a city decides to regulate chickens, it is important to be clear about the regulations.

There are no state laws that address urban chickens or keeping of chickens in cities, so it is up to the city council to decide if it wants to regulate the keeping of chickens. A city may choose to allow chickens, allow chickens if a permit is obtained, or prohibit chickens.

If a city chooses to regulate the keeping of urban chickens, some common requirements include:
  •         Allowing only hens (no roosters)
  •         Limiting the number of hens allowed
  •         Maintaining coops or runs in a sanitary and humane condition
  •         Keeping chickens contained or under control at all times
  •         Locating coops a certain distance from property lines and other structures like houses
Unless specifically included in the definition, chickens and roosters do not fall under the regulation of ordinances that reference livestock. If a city would like to include chickens as livestock, it can by defining the term to include chickens, poultry, fowl, or other similar descriptions. The bottom line is that if the city wants to regulate chickens, it should make sure that chickens are covered by ordinance.

Now, for another try at a chicken joke. Why don’t eggs tell each other jokes? Because they would crack each other up.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information or taking any comedic cues from its content.

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