Worthington Needs the Urban Chicken Movement

| 1/28/2009 2:20:09 PM

Tags: chickens, chicken ordinances, urban chicken movement, animal regulations, chicken regulations,

hen in yard

The urban chicken movement should move to Worthington, Ohio, according to columnist Ann Fisher. Earlier this week she wrote an article for The Columbus Dispatch, discussing the city’s unfair animal ordinances. One — set in 1973 — makes it illegal to keep chickens, horses and cattle in the city within 150 feet of any residence (except for that of the animals’ owner). Another law bans animals that “create offensive odors, excessive noise or unsanitary conditions which are a menace to the health, comfort or safety of the public.” So, technically, any animal could be outlawed in Worthington. I know for sure that my dog makes a good amount of noise and never hesitates to clear out a room with a close-to-stifling stench — but I love her. And she doesn’t even provide me with breakfast in the morning. So, if my wonderful little pooch can live in confined urban quarters, I don’t know why a few hens can’t.

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4/3/2013 3:40:16 PM

I live in Wrenshall Mn, and we are not allowed any farm animals due to noise and smell. My neighbor has 5 different compost piles about 6 feet tall rotting away on his property. During the summer when it is hot, it really starts to smell bad in our neighborhood! Even though chickens are not allowed in our town, a couple a people do own chickens and clean up after them, and they are not an issue at all. I think animals should be allowed as long as they are well cared for and maintained on their property.

m machado
8/13/2009 12:27:47 PM

I live in the city of Sacramento, Ca and chickens are NOT ALLOWED, with people claiming offensive odor and noise issues. HOWEVER, I have neighbors who have cats that roam freely, urinate and defecate wherever they please, dig up plants and make some god-awful noises during all hours of the night, but that's okay, according to the city.....go figure.

2/18/2009 1:50:13 PM

I agree! Here in Sacramento county it's legal to keep hens, while on the other side of the city limits it's not. Makes no sense. As for the odor, what about cats and dogs? Any animal can be kept clean or allowed to get foul, depending on what the owner is willing to do.

2/7/2009 11:55:14 AM

Salt Lake City allows chickens, and a good number of larger city lots allow horses, too. And if you think chickens make a lot of noise, live next to people with untrained dogs that bark all night long. People with loud dogs are more of a nuisance than chickens, IMO.

denise moody
2/5/2009 12:03:06 PM

You should try to get the law changed. It wouldn't hurt anyone to change it to allow a few hens. Most people don't like hearing roosters crowing in the wee hours. Yes, the smell could be a problem, but that would still be covered by the "offensive odor". If they argue about the odor you can point out that dogs that aren't cleaned up after are offensive so why are they still allowed. Also, check and see if pot bellied pigs are allowed. If they are you got it made. As for those who said that some animals have their place on the farm, I refer you to the pot bellied pig. That is a pig but it's being kept now as a pet.

mary hufford
2/5/2009 6:50:34 AM

I live in a suburb of Cincinnati, OH. Our zoning laws prohibit "animal husbandry" on anything less than 5 acres. One of the zoning officers told my husband that it would be illegal to have chickens on our 1 acre lot. I am considering going before the zoning board to ask for a variance, since neither raising laying hens for eggs nor broilers for the table is not "husbandry" -- I'm not breeding them, after all. It's a long shot, but I miss having fresh eggs.

2/5/2009 1:38:30 AM

I live in Palo Alto, CA and have backyard chickens. We have city ordinances here allowing 6 or less hens. I think this is pretty reasonable and my chickens are not at all disruptive to the community. I have 4 chickens and they are pretty close to clean and odorless (I clean their coop out once a week, and have cedar chips in their run) and make no more noise than the cars on a busy street near my house. Chickens definitely belong in peoples backyards as well as on the farm! In a global move toward sustainability we must look toward local food. The best place to foster that is in our backyards. Not everyone has the resources, means, or opportunity to on a farm, yet we should all be able to have chickens!

2/4/2009 7:00:36 PM

I would love to have chickens here in the city, but our laws state that you cannot have this type of animal if your neighbors complain about it. I know that I have one neighbor that complains to the codes office about EVERYONE. I will say, that I understand laws regarding noise, and sanitation, and I, for one, would never think of having a rooster in the city, My goal would simply to be able to have fresh eggs for my family and a modicum of self sufficiency. I think that as long as someone can keep up the area and keep down the noise, then it should be allowed. Also, as far as the noise, and odor, I have two neighbors that have dogs that bark all night long and their lots are never kept up. The odor is awful.

2/4/2009 4:56:47 PM

I live in Columbus, OH, Worthington is my suburb to the north. I agree that residents should be permitted to have chickens--within reason. If "good chicken-bad owner" precipitated this law would it not make more sense to go after the bad owner rather than make blanket legislation barring chicken ownership to everyone? Too often we legislate against the majority of citizens when it was a small minority of citizens who caused a problem. Let me illustrate this with an example. I am a teacher. If a student misbehaves I address the student and if necessary the parent. I would never consider addressing the entire class regarding this student's behavior and then proceed with punishing the entire class--that would not make sense. I address the problem at the source and move on. A small flock of properly maintained chickens would not be disruptive. We have a neighbor down the street who owns a flock of 5 Buff Orpington hens. He sells eggs extra eggs to neighbors and everyone is happy.

2/4/2009 2:22:43 PM

We have a lot of free range chickens that keep the bug population down here on our farm in Hawaii. However, the islands of Hawaii are overrun with chickens and they get noisy ... particularly in the middle of the night. I can understand city folks not wanting to hear a rooster at 2:00 or 3:00AM. I don't either but we live on a coffee farm and have accepted the nuisance. This morning a Hawaiian Hawk was sitting in a tree and the whole flock of about 25 chickens was putting up quite a fuss. It was literally a cacophony for about 15 or 20 minutes. I doubt many city people would tolerate that. I agree that farm animals have their place and the place is on a farm.

2/4/2009 1:47:28 PM

Chickens and other farm animals have their place - on a farm!

2/4/2009 11:52:52 AM

You need to move to Houston, TX. They allow chickens within the city limits here.

2/4/2009 11:49:36 AM

Move to Houston, TX. Houston allows residents to raise chickens right in the middle of town.

2/4/2009 8:56:45 AM

Perhaps this ordinance was the result of a situation stemming from "good chicken - bad owner." I have nothing against people owning chickens in the city, but the problem could lie mostly with those that do not pay enough attention to the hygiene of the bird and their living quarters. Don't get me wrong, I get my meat birds from a friend who raises his chickens in the country and keeps a nice, clean flock. If you pay a visit to his property, you wouldn't even know they were there! But if you were to pay a visit to his neighbors property down the road, you wouldn't even be halfway up the drive before the pronounced ammonia smell would keep you locked in the car! Unfortunately, these ordinances are in place because of a few people that "spoil" it for the rest of us. This is why there are subdivision rules against keeping more than two vehicles on your property (in response to the guy whose property looks like an auto salvage yard), or regulating the amount of grass you must have in the front of your home (in response to the homeowner who with good intentions rips up all his grass to plant a vegetable garden, but never tends it so it ends up looking like a vacant lot in front of his house and allows the spread of noxious weeds to neighboring lawns), or why some areas of the city only allow you to build a home of a specific square footage. The list goes on and on. These rules may seem unfair at first, but most likely are in place for a good reason and THAT is why I choose to live in the country. I guess one comes to expect that there will be less regulation out here. Just my 2 cents.

duane keys
1/31/2009 11:28:30 AM

Would anyone actually complain if you got a few chickens? Sometimes there's old laws on the books that should just be ignored! :)

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