Currently, the city in which I live allows backyard chickens, but my Homeowners Association does not. I am endeavoring to change that. Phase one of my plan was attending board meetings whenever I was in town so that my face would become known. Phase two is to actually make a presentation to the board. Here are some points that I will be making in that presentation.
What do Martha Stewart, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts have in common? They all are a part of one of the smartest trends going, in that they all have backyard chickens.
When our original HOA guidelines were written, which as far as I can tell was in the early 70s (correct me if I’m wrong) I’m sure that Article 8, Section 6 which refers to poultry, was standard boilerplate language added to every neighborhood without really thinking it through. Plus, backyard chickens in residential areas weren’t really a “thing”, but now they are.
And, they’re a good thing.
The City of Austin is giving residents classes on keeping chickens and will reimburse $75 per household for backyard chickens. This is a step toward their “Zero Waste” initiative.
SB 1620 passed the Texas Senate in the 2017 legislature which would have made it illegal to restrict backyard chickens to fewer than 6. The bill didn’t get to be voted on by the House of Representatives before the end of session, but I’m sure it will come up again.
Besides the well known nutritional advantage that backyard chicken eggs have vs even the most expensive store bought eggs, Chickens also reduce pests, household waste and improve the fertility of soil.
Many people who have never been around backyard chickens, and who perhaps have been exposed to commercial chicken operations have some understandable concerns. Chief among them, smell and noise. Let’s unscramble those myths now. (Get it? Unscramble?)
A well kept backyard chicken coop will never have an offensive odor.
As far as noise, laying hens — at their loudest — have about the same decibel level as human conversation (60 to 70 decibels). Hens are so quiet that there have been cases of family flocks being kept for years without the next door neighbors even knowing it. Roosters are not a part of a Backyard Chicken flock and are not allowed by (City) Code of Ordinance.
Don’t we want (neighborhood) to be known as a progressive, forward thinking neighborhood? Isn’t that the kind of place where we want to live? I think so.
I would therefore like to propose that I be allowed to be a trial for (my neighborhood) in keeping backyard chickens.
I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experience in the comments.