Keeping chickens is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Backyard chickens were a standard part of the American lifestyle for centuries but waned with urbanization and industrialization. Today, people are coming to the realization that raising chickens is a great way to practice self-sufficiency and to provide their family with healthy, organic food. Where you live in the country determines to a great deal how easy or difficult it will be to make your dreams of a backyard chicken coop a reality. Some cities allow backyard chicken coops openly, others have many restrictions, and yet other towns and cities prohibit raising chickens within city limits. Here’s what you should know about keeping chickens in Texas.
Austin, Texas Chicken Regulations
Raising backyard chickens is a popular, sustainable food-movement that is alive and well in Austin, Texas. The chickens may be raised free-range, but must have some sort of enclosure (such as a fence) to keep them out of neighbor’s yards. Make sure they’re unable to fly into neighbor’s yards as well and that coops are at least 50 feet away from neighbor’s homes. Keep your coop clean and don’t raise more hens than you have space for. If you have the space available, up to 10 chickens are allowed on your property. If complaints are received, a sanitarian will be sent out to inspect your chicken’s living space. Also keep in mind that chickens may not be permitted in all neighborhoods, so be sure to check the rules and regulations of your home owner’s association before building a coop and buying birds.
Houston, Texas Chicken Regulations
In Houston, a homeowner may keep up to 30 chickens on their property, so long as the chickens are kept 100 feet from any neighboring properties (homes, schools, churches, businesses). Unfortunately, these space restrictions mean that most urban Houstonians cannot raise hens on their property. Composting chicken manure is prohibited. The movement Hens for Houston is promoting allowing urban Houstonians to be able to keep chickens on small lots as well. You can track their progress at http://hensforhouston.com/. The Department of Health may be called to inspect the premises in case of complaints.
Restrictive Cities for Backyard Chickens
In some Texas cities, it is very hard to legally raise chickens within city limits. In Arlington, Texas, chickens can only be kept on lots ½ acre or larger and roosters are not permitted. Chickens must be penned and 50 feet away from neighboring houses. Grand Prairie, Tx, requires that chickens must be 150 feet away from any houses, which is difficult to do within the city. Wylie and Planto, Texas, ban chickens altogether. For a complete list, check out: http://www.ranch-coop.com/blog.html?entry=the-chicken-laws-for-some.
Best Texas Cities for Keeping Chickens
Houston, Texas, appears to be one of the most lenient Texas cities to raise chickens, allowing up to 30 chickens to be kept on a lot measuring at least 65 x 125 feet. So long as you have plenty of space between lots, you can keep a fairly large flock. Irving, Texas, doesn’t have restrictions on livestock. In Laredo, Texas, there are no restrictions if you keep less than 6 chickens. If you keep more than 6, they must be penned 100 feet from any building other than your own home.
Where you live in Texas determines the rules and regulations you must follow if you wish to keep chickens on your property. These rules vary widely. Some cities welcome chickens and make it simple for urbanites to keep a flock on their property. Other cities are so restrictive that they make raising chickens within city limits nearly impossible. Check with your city and your homeowner’s association before you get started. It’ll save you a lot of headaches. Good luck!