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Illegal Fowl: A Survey of Municipal Laws Relating to Backyard Poultry and a Model Ordinance for Regulating City Chickens

33 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2012 Last revised: 30 Aug 2012

Jaime M. Bouvier

Case Western Reserve University - School of Law

Date Written: July 27, 2012

Abstract

As the movement towards keeping backyard chickens continues to grow, many cities are facing the decision of whether to allow residents to keep chickens and, if so, how to effectively regulate the practice. This paper provides the information necessary for cities to design a workable ordinance. First, the paper gathers information about the benefits and concerns of keeping backyard chickens. Next, the paper surveys municipal ordinances in the top 100 most populous cities in the United States that concern keeping and raising chickens. This survey reveals that chickens are, perhaps surprisingly, legal in the vast majority of large cities. The survey also identifies regulatory norms and some effective and less effective ways to regulate chicken-keeping. Finally, the paper offers a model ordinance, based on the background information and survey results, that a city can adopt or easily modify to fit the city’s unique needs.

Keywords: Urban Agriculture, Backyard Chickens, Urban Animal Husbandry, Agriculture law, Animal law, Urban Homesteading, Municipal Law, Zoning Law

Suggested Citation

Bouvier, Jaime M., Illegal Fowl: A Survey of Municipal Laws Relating to Backyard Poultry and a Model Ordinance for Regulating City Chickens (July 27, 2012). 42 Environmental Law Reporter 10888 (Sept. 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2119494

Jaime M. Bouvier (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University - School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States

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