The old ordinances did not prohibit ownership- they just addressed the noise, containment, sale of chickens, and coop location.

Sec. 5-1. Keeping such as to create disturbing noises prohibited.
The keeping of any animal or fowl which by causing frequent or long continued noise shall disturb the comfort or repose of any persons in the vicinity is prohibited.
(Ord. No. 361, § 3, 3-22-54; Ord. No. 573, § V, 10-5-70)
Cross references: Noise generally, §§ 2-96–2-106.

Sec. 5-2. Livestock running at large prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person to permit any horse, mule, mare or colt, ox, steer, cow, calf, hog, shoat, pig, boar or sheep, or any other such animal, excluding cats and dogs, owned by them, including chickens or other domestic fowl, in their possession, or under their control to run at large or pasture the same, on any of the public streets, highways, public places or commons, within the corporate limits of the city.
(Ord. No. 1, § 1, 6-10-18; Ord. No. 3, § 1, 6-10-18)

Sec. 5-3. Sale of baby chicks, rabbits, ducklings, etc., prohibited; exceptions; seizure.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to 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 section 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. Nor shall this section be construed to prohibit the display or sale of rabbits in a licensed pet store.
(b) In the case of any violation of this section, it shall be the duty of any fully appointed police officer, or the dog warden, to seize such fowl or pets and provide the necessary care and attention, and such fowl or pets shall not be returned until all expenses for such care and attention shall have been paid.
(Ord. No. 468, §§ 1, 2, 6-18-62; Ord. No. 515, 4-17-67)
Cross references: Business regulations and licenses generally, Ch. 7.

Sec. 12-116. Keeping, housing fowl.
It shall be unlawful to keep, house or maintain fowl within a distance of 150 feet of any building or part of a building used by any person or persons for habitation other than that of the person (including members of his household) so keeping, housing or maintaining fowl. It shall also be unlawful to maintain pigeons, seagulls or other wild fowl so as to create an unsanitary condition or odor. Violation of this section constitutes a misdemeanor and is declared a public nuisance subject to abatement as provided in section 12-112.
(Ord. No. 899, Pt. VII, 10-12-98)

As the code stands right now, Sec. 12-116 effectively prohibits ownership for the majority of residents, as average lot size is roughly 40 x 110ft. The current housing distance stipulation is excessive for a small poulty flock; the 2010 newsletter from the MSU Poultry Extension recommends that a “poultry facility should be 5 to 10 feet from any property line and at least 10 to 20 feet from a neighboring residence”. Our ordinance requires 130ft more than the MSU guidelines!

Because there is no language limiting the number of fowl, barring roosters, or defining good keeping practices, Ferndale leaves itself open to issues of neighbor dissatisfaction, noise violations, and pest problems. Adopting a code that addresses these issues leaves less room for interpretation and reduces the risks above.


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