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The Legality of Keeping Chickens in Urban and Suburban Areas
- Metro Atlanta Laws Challenged by a Backyard Chicken Keeper - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associ
A Georgia man picks up the reigns in the national discussion on whether or not it is legal to keep chickens in urban and suburban areas.
Joseph Pond is bringing a taste of good, old-fashioned farm life to the suburbs. By creating a new website, Backyard Chickens Alliance of Cobb County, he has brought supporters of backyard chickens together on the internet and at local events. Actually, the fight to keep hens in one's backyard is not a new one. People all over North America have been lobbying to have chickens as pets and as a source of protein. For Pond, a citation by Cobb County Code Enforcement inspired him to take a stand for himself and other backyard chicken keepers.
How and where can someone find out if it's legal to keep chickens in their backyard? Here is a sample of some of the laws that have been written to address chicken keeping in residential areas of Georgia:
State of Georgia
"Right to Grow Act": The state says you can keep chickens for your own consumption, unless otherwise told by your county, city or HOA
Cobb County in GA
Need at least two acres, the coop must be at least 100 feet from the property line, and the chickens cannot wander any closer than ten feet to the property line
Marietta, GA (Cobb County)
Need at least five acres, and the coop must be at least 150 feet from the property line
Fulton County in GA
Coop must be at least 200 feet from the property line
Atlanta, GA (Fulton County)
Coop must be at least 50 feet from the neighbor's house
Decatur, GA (Fulton County)
Coop must be 75 feet from your neighbor - or as far away from your neighbor as possible if your lot is smaller than 75 feet
Chatham County in GA
Coop must be at least 100 feet from your neighbor's home, if you have five or more chickens
Savannah, GA (Chatham County)
Coop should be at least 50 feet from the property line
Most county and city ordinances referenced here...
- Require chickens to be fenced in
- Require ample room
- Require sanitary conditions
- Note the maximum number of chickens that can be kept
- Do not allow roosters due to noise ordinances
- Do not allow chickens and their eggs to be sold, only consumed privately
Regulations in some urban areas are actually more flexible than suburban areas when it comes to keeping chickens. Paula Deen and her Chatham County neighbors on Wilmington Island were recently cited for keeping backyard chickens. Chatham County quickly decided to change regulations so that residents would be allowed to keep their chickens. Pond and other Cobb County residents may not be able to see such a fast turn around on the county's residential chicken laws. However, it seems that if nearby cities like Decatur can handle chickens in residential areas, so can Marietta and other cities in Cobb County.
PBA special on backyard chickens in Metro Atlanta
Have I got your interest? Read this link before raising your hens
Extension publications produced through research universities are very informative. This particular pdf is an excellent place to start if you are interested in raising hens in your backyard.
- Benefits of Owning Backyard Chickens
See Jennifer's hub on backyard chickens
If you are interested in finding out if backyard chicken keeping is legal in your area, here are a few suggestions on locating these particular ordinances:
- Search for your state, county, and city codes. Rules may be different for each level, so it's important to be informed about these regulations.
- Use Municode and local government websites to find these regulations.
- Try searching for these terms: poultry, chickens, and fowl.
- Zoning and general ordinances often have regulations listed for chickens.
This hub was inspired by Pond's story, so let me take a moment to thank the Pond family for bringing this issue to the forefront.
As I did research on regulations regarding backyard chicken keeping, I was taken by the legal jargon surrounding the issue. I am interested in hearing about what you think about keeping chickens in residential areas, and what your take is on any related laws. Thank you and happy hubbing!