"It seems that if we want to be a town that does its part for sustainability, this is something we ought to consider. I think we want to allow folks to use their good judgment and move toward more sustainable food practices." - Mayor John Engen, Missoula, MT
Ferndale MI allows its residents to own up to 3 hens in their backyards.
The city of Kingston, ON, recently allowed urban hens. In January 2011, the committee charged with this task produced a policy recommendation that includes the reasoning behind the recommendation. Well worth reading!
See a list of cities that allow backyard chickens at www.TorontoChickens.com.
Madison, Wisconsin, is an important city to consider because they have allowed backyard hens long enough for us to be able to learn from their experience. In their residents' own words:
In the Spring of 2004, Madison, WI passed a law allowing single-family homes the right to raise poultry in the back yard. Previous to this law, poultry was allowed inside the home, but not outside. Coops were not permitted, nor was raising poultry inside the garage. Today it is legal to have 4 hens (no roosters) in a coop, no closer than 25' from the nearest neighbors living quarters. Butchering within the city limits is still not allowed.Before their law was changed, an excellent presentation was created for use at a public meeting to help residents understand some of the issues regarding urban chickens. It's well worth opening up the link and reading it.
Here is a great video about urban hens in Portland, Oregon:
And closer to home, the city of Madison Heights voted in December 2010 to allow backyard coops:
The measure allows three hens or chicks per household and bans roosters, but the new law will expire in two years, [City Manager] Austin said.
“It’s a bit of a trial period,” he said. “At the end of the two years the council will weigh the impact of the domestic hen provision and decide whether to continue it.”