Urban chickens (backyard chickens) are chickens that are raised within city limits for their eggs, companionship, and other important roles in the urban landscape. Raising urban chickens is associated with sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and the local-food movement -- which emphasizes participating in home-grown foods and food security.
Proponents of the urban chicken movement cite many benefits. First, advocates claim home-raised livestock helps minimize the fuel use and carbon emissions that result from transporting food to markets. Second, urban chickens give owners control over how the chickens are treated and what they are fed. This is important to some owners because research has shown that chickens that have access to the outdoors produce more nutritious eggs than chickens raised indoors. Third, chicken droppings are good fertilizer and can be used in compost piles. Finally, chickens will eat garden pests and thus they provide a chemical free pest solution.
Many municipalities have recently drafted and/or passed ordinances regarding chickens within their city limits. This particular proposal drafted for Fort Wayne includes recommendations that are influenced by what other cities have found useful.
2. Recommendations for legislation
There should be a limit of 6 birds kept on each lot, although, since they are social birds, there should never be less than two or three together.
No roosters will be permitted.
Hens must be kept in a suitable enclosure such as a hen house or chicken coop with at least 2 square feet available for each chicken.
Enclosure must be located at least 10 feet from any property line, and at least 20 feet from any neighboring dwelling.
Enclosure should be at least 35 feet from any stream or river.
Enclosures must be kept clean and feed kept in a airtight container.
There must be at least 10 square feet of permeable space on the lot for each bird.
No slaughtering for meat, breeding animals for sale, or selling eggs will be permitted.