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Urban chickens?

Anybody got the straight dope on having chickens in the hood?

I was wondering if you have any familiarity with the city’s codes regarding chicken coops in residential areas. I’ve heard/seen them in the neighbhorhood before, as well as in the Fan and Oregon Hill, but I can’t find any info on the city website. Thanks!

The code of the City of Richmond says that you can’t have chickens unless you have A Very Big Yard, but doesn’t say what happens if you get caught.

Sec. 10-88. Keeping and running at large of hogs, pigs and fowl.

(a) No hog or pig shall be kept on any premises or allowed to go at large within the city, provided that hogs and pigs may be kept at the Maymont Park as educational exhibitions.

(b) No person shall keep, place or maintain fowl on any parcel of real property in the city which contains less than 50,000 square feet in area.

(c) All fowl shall be kept in securely and suitably fenced areas, and no fenced area or pen for fowl shall be permitted closer than 500 feet to any house or other building used for residential purposes by anyone other than the person maintaining such fowl or such person’s immediate family.

(d) Every person maintaining any area for keeping fowl shall keep it clean, sanitary and free from refuse. All feed or other material intended for consumption by birds shall be kept in containers impenetrable by rats or other rodents, and such containers shall be equipped with tightly fitting caps or lids. The presence of rats in an area used for the keeping of fowl shall be prima facie evidence that such area is maintained in violation of this section.

(Code 1993, § 4-34)

State Law References: Running at large, Code of Virginia, § 3.1-796.94:1.

What happens if you get caught? Is the city at all aggressive about policing this? Is there interest in seeing the laws change?

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