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Dear PoP – How Can I Legally Keep Chickens in my Backyard?

by Prince Of Petworth May 3, 2011 at 11:30 am 62 Comments


The famous 11th Street Chicken from July ’08

“Dear PoP,

My wife and I were hoping that either you or the commenters could steer us in the direction of this information. We hope to keep some backyard hens for some eggs. What regulatory hoops do we need to jump through to do so? The information out there on this topic is somewhat conflicting. We have tried contacting Tommy Wells’ office because they were the ones to introduce the reform bill last year, but we haven’t heard back yet.

I think our lot is big enough and we could probably get permission from our immediate neighbors, but if it is everyone in our square who needs to give us permission, that really makes things impossible. We’re on a big square with some apartment buildings, people we don’t know, etc.

Now, I don’t want this to get way off track into a discussion about the desirability of Wells’s proposed reform and of backyard poultry-keeping in general. I just want to figure out if we can do this and stay on the right side of the law as it is written right now.”

In June 2010 we we learned that Department of Health regulations did not permit keeping hens in your backyard. I feel like we would’ve heard if Council Member Wells’ reform bill would’ve changed these regulations. My guess is that his bill did not pass – does anyone know for sure?

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