Chicken Coop Permit Renewal Time

Your chicken coop permit is valid until Dec 31st every year, so in early December the coty starts mailing out notices to renew.  It’s simple to fill out:

1.) Location of Building – place your address in this section

2.) Contractor/Applicant – fill out your contact info, like name, email, phone #

3.) Work to be Performed – write in “chicken coop renewal inspection”, or simply “chicken coop”

4.) Signature – don’t forget to sign it!

5.) Send it back in with your permit fee of $35, and the city will contact you to schedule a date/time for coop inspection.

I highlighted the areas to fill out in the pic above, if you have any questions contact the city clerks office, they’re happy to help!

Why Backyard Chicken Ordinances Matter

fb_img_1471143868977As a member of the Michigan Small Farm Council, I’m obligated to say that I firmly believe that everyone should have the right to farm. Our Michigan Right to Farm Act, the strongest pro-farm protection in the US, theoretically can provide protection to those with backyard chickens. However, in practicality, it doesn’t matter, despite state law superseding local ordinances. Imagine, for instance, that you receive a notice of violation from your local code enforcement officer stating you have 10 days to remove the chickens from your property before you begin accruing fines and have your animals removed.  Imagine trying to tell your code enforcement officer that you are protected under state law, and that they can’t take your chickens away.

The bottom line is they can, because they believe they can.  If you interfere with animal control officers removing your chickens, you’ll be facing much harsher charges.  You will receive more fines, more tickets.  Taking your fight to city hall, trying to explain your case, will be an arduous, slow moving process.

A recent example is Bob Perye of Berkley Michigan, a local business owner of the popular BBQ food truck The Rogue Estate. For years he kept a small flock of hens in his backyard, quietly selling eggs to appreciative neighbors and enjoying the benefits of backyard chickens. One call from a spiteful teenage neighbor was all it took for code enforcement to stop by, issue a citation, and force Bob to rehome his birds.  3 months later, after many emails and phone calls and consistent proactive effort, backyard chickens STILL aren’t on the agenda for discussion at Berkley City Council.  There’s no telling when it will be.  It’s not a high priority issue for those it doesn’t directly impact, and council members are often hesitant to ‘rock the boat’ and introduce an issue that people are often divided on. Meanwhile, Bob misses and worries about his birds, and sudden change like this is incredibly hard on chickens- in fact, one of his hens suddenly and mysteriously went lame, which could be an underlying issue that suddenly reared it’s head due to the stress the bird is under.

In an effort to help council understand the reasons they should allow backyard chickens, Bob compiled a ton of information on the benefits of hens and attempts to allay some of the fears people might have in his document, A Request To Allow Domestic Chickens As Pets In Berkley. His document is a perfect example of how to get chickens legalized in your city, and getting that document in front of council members has been a top priority.  He’ll need to continue to push to get the issue added to the agenda to find out if anyone has actually read it, and since so much time has elapsed it’s prudent to start trying to contact media to give attention to the issue.  With so many cities surrounding his allowing backyard chickens, it’s hard to imagine that Berkley won’t- they can, however, drag their feet for as long as they want.

This is why I’m such an advocate for working with your city on crafting a backyard chicken ordinance before you need it.  Nobody wants a long fight, and despite this seeming like a simple issue, it often gets brushed aside repeatedly before being addressed by city council. The wheels of change move slowly, the wheels of enforcement move quickly.

And, as always, be prepared to refute the frothing-at-the-mouth claims of those against backyard chickens.  For an example of some of what you’ll hear, listen to this Wilmington City Council meeting (linked directly to the portion that begins public comment).  The woman requesting the implementation of a backyard chicken ordinance was unable to be there due to illness- her detractors were out in force.  The fears of these neighbors made this balloon into a witch hunt, with them traveling to her previous home to take pictures of it, investigating her personally, “what about the children?!” claims that they’ll hug chickens and die from salmonella, etc.  This might be an extreme example, but I’ve heard all the same claims before, time and time again.

In short, if you want backyard chickens, be prepared to advocate and potentially fight for them.  In almost every case, you’ll need to, either by contending with opposition or the inertia of government.

Michigan Cities that Allow Keeping of Chickens (and those that don’t)

michigan-cities-that-allow-chickensTaken from Municode primarily. Always check with your city!  This list is not comprehensive, and there are many grey areas in municipal code. Contact me if your city should be added to the list!

Cities that ALLOW chickens & fowl:

Ada Township (restricted to zoned area only)

Addison Township (restricted to zoned areas, acreage limit)

Ann Arbor (specific chicken ordinance)

Auburn Hills (specific chicken ordinance)

Centerline (allowed at schools, severe distance restriction)

Clawson (severe distance restriction)

Dearborn (permit required)

East Lansing (permit required) application available online

Farmington Hills (severe distance restriction)

Ferndale (specific chicken ordinance)

Grand Rapids (specific chicken ordinance)

Hazel Park (permit required)

Lansing (City of Lansing)

Lathrup Village (specific chicken ordinance)

Madison Heights (permit required)

Northville (distance restriction)

Pontiac (acreage restriction)

Rochester Hills (acreage limit)

Royal Oak (implied to be allowed, ordinance governs keeping it clean)

 Southfield (distance limit, potential zoning issues)

Troy (permit required)

Warren (severe distance restriction)

Ypsilanti  (specific chicken ordinance)

Cities that DO NOT allow chickens & fowl:

Berkley  Sec. 22-5. – Keeping of domestic animals and fowl. No person shall harbor or house any animals or domestic fowl within the city except dogs, cats, birds, fowl or animals commonly classified as pets. (Code 1981, § 5-4)

Birmingham Sec. 18-8. – Keeping of domestic animals and fowl. No person shall keep or house any animals within the city except dogs cats, birds, or animals commonly classified as pets. No horse, cow, calf, swine, sheep, goat, chickens, geese or ducks shall be kept in any dwelling or part thereof. Nor shall any such animal be kept on the same lot or premises with a dwelling. This offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or $500.00 fine. (Code 1963, § 9.64; Ord. No. 2075, 11-28-11)

Bloomfield Hills Sec. 3-4. – Livestock prohibited. (b)”Livestock” means horses and other equine, cattle, sheep, swine, mules, burros, goats, llamas or other new world camelids, bison, poultry, rabbits and other animals used for human food and fiber or primarily for service rather than companionship to humans. Livestock does not include dogs and cats.(c) It shall be unlawful and a violation of this section for any person to possess or maintain livestock within the city. Owners or possessors of livestock shall be responsible for compliance with this section and subject to punishment for violations. For purposes of this section, “possess or maintain” means the act or ability of having or exerting control and influence over livestock, without regard to ownership and “owners or possessors” mean persons who have a right of property in livestock, who have livestock in their care of custody, or who knowingly permit livestock to remain on or about property occupied or controlled by them.

Dearborn Heights Sec. 6-66. – Domestic animals and fowl. No person shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl within the city except dogs, cats, canaries or small animals commonly classified as pets which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets. (Code 1969, § 9.87)

Detroit Sec. 6-1-3. – Owning, harboring, keeping, maintaining, selling or transferring of farm or wild animals prohibited; exception for circuses, zoos, and other approved activities; separate violations for each animal; disposition of animals in violation of this section.(a) It shall be unlawful for a person to own, harbor, keep, or maintain, sell, or transfer any farm animal, or any wild animal, on their premises or at a public place within the City; provided, that farm animals or wild animals may be kept in circuses, zoos, or laboratories, subject to the approval of the City, where the care or custody is under the care of a trained and qualified animal attendant at all times, whose responsibility shall be to see that such animals are securely under restraint. (Ord. No. 04-04, § 1, 1-30-04)

Eastpointe Sec. 8-6. – Poultry and game birds. (a) No person shall raise or keep game cocks within the city. (b) Live poultry and game birds shall not be owned within the city limits.(Code 1973, § 9.66; Code 1989, § 610.06; Ord. No. 1015, § 610.06, 10-6-2009)

Farmington (UNCLEAR ; acreage limit, farms can keep, but has on the books an ordinance disallowing livestock) Sec. 20-303. – Livestock, exotic or vicious animals. The keeping of livestock is prohibited. The keeping of any exotic or vicious animal is prohibited.

Fraser  Sec. 32-33. – Animals. No animals, livestock or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept on any lot, except that non-vicious dogs, cats or other household pets may be kept, provided they are not kept, bred or maintained for any commercial purposes. (Ord. No. 279, § 3.02, 12-12-96)

Garden City 90.01  PETS; SALE OF ANIMALS; PROHIBITIONS.   (A)   No person shall keep or house any animals or fowl within the city except dogs, cats, canaries, or animals commonly classified as pets, customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets.    (B)   No person shall sell, or offer for sale, barter, or give away baby chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl as pets or novelties, whether or not dyed, colored, or otherwise artificially treated. This division shall not be construed to prohibit the display or sale of natural chicks or ducklings in proper brooder facilities by hatcheries or stores engaged in the business of selling the same to be raised for commercial purposes.(Ord. 11-006, passed 4-25-11)

Grosse Pointe Sec. 10-4. – Keeping domestic animals and fowl generally. Except as provided in this chapter, no person shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl within the city except dogs, cats, birds, fowl or animals commonly classified as pets. (Code 1980, § 9.84)

Grosse Pointe Woods Sec. 6-3. – Livestock. (a) definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning: Livestock means horses, cows, calves, swine, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks, pigeons or other like or similar animals or fowl.(b) Harboring. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep livestock in the city with the exception of the Grosse Pointe Woods Hunt Club.(Code 1975, § 8-13-2; Code 1997, § 6-157)

Harper Woods Sec. 4-2. – Animals prohibited; exceptions. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to keep any animal or fowl within five hundred (500) feet of any dwelling, street, alley or public place, except such animals as are commonly kept or housed as household pets; or permit any animal or any fowl owned by him or in his possession or control to run at large in any street, alley or public place, or upon the premises of another without express permission of the owner or occupant thereof.

Huntington Woods Sec. 4-4. – Domestic animals and fowl. No person shall keep or house any animals other than domestic dogs, domestic cats, canaries or animals commonly classified as pets, which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets. The term “pet” or “household pet,” as used in this section, does not include exotic, wild, vicious or dangerous animals including, but not limited to, any of the following: domestic fowl, live monkeys, alligator, crocodile, raccoon, skunk, fox, bear, sea mammal, poisonous snake, constrictor snake longer than six feet in length, member of the feline species other than the domestic cat, member of the canine species other than the domestic dog, or any other animal which would require a standard of care and control greater than that required for customary household pets sold by commercial pet shops. This section shall not apply to any lawfully operated zoo. (Code 1988, § 9.38; Ord. No. 423, § 1, 5-19-1998)

Mount Clemens 15.042 – Sec. 4.2 ANIMALS. No animals, livestock or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept on any residentially zoned or used property, except that non-vicious dogs, cats or other household pets may be kept, provided they are not kept, bred or maintained for any commercial purposes. All animals shall be maintained in accordance with applicable City Ordinances.

New Baltimore Sec. 8-6. – Domestic animals and fowl. No person shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl within the city except dogs, cats, birds, fowl or animals commonly classified as pets. (Code 1981, § 9.65)

Oak Park Sec. 14-5. – Keeping of animals and fowl. No person shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl within the city except dogs, cats, canaries or animals commonly classified as pets which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets, and excepting further, the temporary keeping of live poultry by any lawfully established live poultry market incidental to the normal course of business. (Code 1973, § 6-5)

Plymouth Sec. 14-4. – Domestic animals and fowl. No person shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl within the city except dogs, cats, birds, fowl or animals commonly classified as pets. (Ord. No. 99-9, 6-21-99)

Rochester  Sec. 8-5. – Unlawful to keep certain animals and fowl. No person shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl within the city except dogs, cats, birds, or animals commonly classified as household pets. (Ord. No. 1991-15, 8-12-1991; Code 1982, § 9.2-4)

Romeo Sec. 4-1. – Keeping within corporate limits. No person shall keep any horses, cattle, swine, sheep, ponies, goats, rabbits, poultry or other animals and fowl, except dogs and cats, within the corporate village limits. (Code 1993, § 35.251)

St. Clair Shores 35.059 – Farm animals prohibited. Sec. 19-9. No person shall own, keep, harbor, have custody or raise any farm animal except that one rabbit shall be permitted per residential premises. (chap. 19 eff. Nov. 22, 1988)

Taylor Sec. 14.09. – Keeping of animals. (a) Domestic animals, dogs, cats, birds and nonbreeding rabbits are limited to a total of three animals age four months or older per household. (b) Unless otherwise provided in this ordinance, no building or land in any district shall keep, raise, procreate or otherwise allow on the premises any wild or exotic animal, fowl, farm animal or livestock. (c) Excluded from this regulation are facilities owned and operated by the city and fully accredited academic institutions. All are subject to the health and sanitation provisions of the City of Taylor and shall not become a nuisance. (Ord. No. 09-434, § 14.09, 1-20-2009)