In order to properly regulate the owning and maintaining of backyard flocks, we propose implementing a code such as this (wording taken from Ypsilanti ORD1100):

Keeping of Female Chickens (Hens)
(1) Any person who keeps hens in the City of Ferndale shall obtain a permit from the City prior to acquiring the hens and pay a permit fee set by City Council. This permit shall be kept by the owner and presented upon demand by any city official
or police officer. Permits are non-transferable and do not run with the land.
(2) Notwithstanding the issuance of a permit by the City, private restrictions on the use of property shall remain enforceable and take precedence over a permit. Private restrictions include, but are not limited to, deed restrictions, condominium master deed restrictions, neighborhood association by-laws and covenant deeds. A permit issued to a person whose property is subject to private restrictions that prohibit the keeping of hens is void. The interpretation and enforcement of the private restriction is the sole responsibility of the private parties involved.
(3) A person who keeps or houses hens on his or her property shall comply with the following requirements:
a. Must obtain a permit pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
b. Keep no more than 4 hens.
c. The principal use of the person’s property must be for a single-family dwelling or two-family dwelling.
d. No person shall keep a male chicken (rooster).
e. No person shall slaughter any hens.
f. Any person keeping hens shall remain subject to public nuisance animal controls.
g. The hens shall be provided with a covered enclosure and must be kept in the covered enclosure or a fenced enclosure at all times.
h. A person shall keep hens in the backyard only.
i. All enclosures for the keeping of hens shall be constructed, repaired and maintained in a manner to prevent rats, mice, or other rodents from being harbored underneath, within, or within the walls of the enclosure.
j. All feed and other items associated with the keeping of hens that are likely to attract or to become infested shall be so protected so as to prevent rats, mice, or other rodents from gaining access to or coming into contact with them.
k. Chicken coops and enclosures shall be at least 20 feet from any residential structure not owned by the permitee unless written permission is granted from the owner of the affected residential structure.
(4) If the requirements of subsection (3) are not fully complied with, the City may revoke any permit granted under this section and/or initiate prosecution for a civil infraction violation.

Implementation of code similar to the above would clearly outline the limitations and accountability necessary for residents to effectively manage their backyard flock.


8 thoughts on “Proposed Ordinance

  1. I am so thrilled that you are doing this! I became interested in urban chickens a while ago, and was heart-broken when I learned
    Ferndale did not allow chickens, unless 150 ft from a dwelling. I live on a large double lot in Ferndale and I don’t think even I have enough room to legally have them! My sister in Florida has 6 “urban” chickens and am very jealous. If there is anything I can do to help in this cause, please contact me.
    thank you again for spear heading this.

    1. I’ve got 2 RI Reds that are 26 weeks now and laying daily. They free range the yard durnig the day and come back to roost in the evening. I’ve only had them for 6 weeks, and now I’ve got 15 new chicks that have grown to a little over 3 weeks old.In another week or so the chicks will be ready to go outside to the coop and run since they’re feathering out nicely and I’ll be ready to take back my garage!I think I can net off a portion of the run (VERY secure from other animals entering from outside or above) for the chicks so I can keep everyone on the right kind of chick food and layer food. The reds need the nesting boxes in the coop to lay so I shouldn’t get them all into the coop yet right?Do you think evening temps in the 60 s will be OK for the younger chicks? Daytime temps have been in the 80 s and 90 s so it’s the nights and inclement weather that worries me about them being out in the run all the time.It’s my understanding that the chicks need chick food until 9 weeks and then grower food until 19 weeks. That seems like forever if they have to be separated!

      1. Sorry I’m so late to respond, somehow your comment got lost. At 3 weeks, I’d wait a little longer before moving them outside- 5 weeks is when most people will move them out. Once they’ve gotten their “big girl” feathers in they’ll be fine with nighttime temperatures in the 60s.
        About the food: stick with your plan to keep them on chick food until 9 weeks, then move them over to pullet/grower mash. I started mixing in the grower mash when I moved them outside at 6 weeks, but didn’t fully switch over until 9 weeks.

  2. I am so excited to hear this is happening. I’ve been a Ferndale resident the last 5 years, and just bought my house last year here. I would gladly have chickens if there was a way to have them on my small lot. My friend in Boston has chickens, ducks and a rooster in a plot about as big as mine, with no problems! I’m super jealous whenever I get to see them. Please let me know if/when I can be of any help! Thank you for working on this!!

  3. I’m interested in having chickens, and am sad to see that it is not allowed. Let me know if there is a petition to sign or a group to join to help pass this new ordinance.

  4. My sister has wanted chickens since she heard they were allowed in ferndale, but our lot is ofcourse too small.
    If there is anything we can do to help right this wrong and get our chickens let us know.

  5. I too have desired to keep chickens in Ferndale (24 year resident) to provide safe and ethically produced eggs for our family. If I can be of any help please contact me. I will gladly show up for any city council meeting discussion on the subject. Keep me posted on any developments.

  6. “Farm to fridge” is a very good although disturbing video that really adresses the ethical treatment of animals. It can be found, viewed and or downloaded at Mercy for Animals .com

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