Episode 5 – In this episode we try to make sense of backyard chicken laws.
Chickens and Dogs
Suzy has been introducing our twelve week old Australian Shepherd puppy, Shep, to our chickens as they run around after work. Our previous Aussie, Yeager, was really good at protecting the flock from predators, but if he had a chance to play with the chickens, the results were disastrous. We have read and heard that some dogs will be better with chickens if they have been raised with them, so that is how we ended up with little Shep. Hopefully he will grow up to see the chickens as fellow pets and not play things.
Our First iTunes Review [03:35]
Linda Kaye gave us our very first review on iTunes, and it was a really nice one. Linda, you are awesome!
How Do You Freeze Eggs? [05:32]
Colleen from Tennessee emailed us to ask how to freeze eggs. Freezing eggs is very easy and they will stay good for six months to one year.
First, start with fresh eggs. Don’t try to keep them in the fridge for a few weeks and then try to freeze them.
Next, think about how many you will likely need at one time (six months from now). When you thaw them, you will need to use them quickly, so don’t freeze three dozen eggs together if you have two people in your household.
Using Mixed Liquid Egg for Recipes
4 Teaspoons of liquid egg = 1/2 an egg
3 Tablespoons of liquid egg = 1 egg
1/2 Cup of liquid egg = 3 eggs
Once you know how big you want your batches to be, crack the eggs into a bowl and gently stir them together. Don’t whip them together because it will introduce air into the egg mixture. In this case, air is bad.
Pour the mixture into a freezer bag or plastic container and label it with the date it went into the freezer.
When it is time to use the eggs, take them out the day before you will need them and thaw them in the refrigerator.
If you want, you can freeze egg whites and yolks separately. If freezing yolks by themselves, it is a good idea to add a little honey or a little salt to keep them from getting lumpy.
Finally, make sure you cook your thawed eggs thoroughly.
Understanding Backyard Chicken Laws [12:15]
Laws and regulations pertaining to backyard chickens can sometimes be difficult to figure out. Laws vary from county to county and city to city. The first thing you will need to know is which jurisdiction (city or county) you live under.
Next you will need to figure out how your land is zoned. If it is some form of agricultural, then you most likely can have chickens with few limitations or restrictions. If you live on land that is zoned residential, you most likely will find many limitation on chicken keeping, from how many you can have to where you can keep them.
To find your local ordinances pertaining to keeping chickens, go to http://municode.com. Once there, select your state and then find the county or city jurisdiction you belong to. Finally, use the search box to find references to “poultry” or “chicken.”
Here are some issues that may be addressed:
Can You Have Chickens in the First Place?
Maybe yes. Maybe no. It all depends on your local legislators and whether they will allow you to have them.
Do we think everyone should be allowed to have chickens? Yes. Does that mean if you aren’t allowed to have chickens you should get them anyway and try to hide them? No. Don’t do that.
Can You Have Roosters?
I don’t know of any jurisdiction that allows roosters on residential property. Most people don’t want a rooster outside their bedroom window, especially at 4:30 in the morning.
That being said, can you buy a straight run of baby chicks knowing that half of them will likely be roosters? Yes. Our rule is that if it doesn’t crow, it isn’t a rooster. That means you will have a few months to determine which ones are males and rehome them somewhere in the country.
How Many Chickens Can You Have?
Pretty self explanatory. Will anyone notice if you have one more than you are supposed to? Most likely not. But don’t get ten if you are only allowed four.
Can You Sell Chicken Byproducts? [18:05]
Chicken byproducts are eggs, poo and feathers. For the most part, this is not allowed in residential areas.
Can You Butcher Chickens? [18:30]
Nobody wants to be playing in the backyard with their child and see you chasing chickens with a meat cleaver.
Setback Requirements [18:53]
Setback requirements will describe the minimum distance your coop must be from your property line, as well as from a neighbor’s house.
Where Can the Coop & Chickens Be? [19:10]
Most residential areas don’t want the coop placed in the front or side yard. Typically, they want it placed in the back where nobody can see it from the street.
Also, there may be some language requiring that chickens must always be kept in a fenced area to minimize the chances of your chickens ending up in your neighbor’s yard.
If you are thinking about getting a backyard flock, make sure you check out all of the regulations ahead of time so that you know what you can and cannot do.
What if you live under a home owner’s association? If your government says you can but the HOA says you can’t, the HOA trumps the law. It stinks, but it is what you agreed to when you moved in.
Final Thoughts [21:20]
Be a good neighbor with your chickens. Follow the rules and talk to them about what you want to do. Especially in areas where they may be allowing chickens on a trial basis, don’t get your neighbors all crazy so they complain and they end up rescinding the laws.