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Richmond City Council approves urban chickens

Richmond City Council this evening unanimously passed Ordinance 2013-47 which makes it legal to keep up to 4 female chickens, with a few restrictions (and a $60 annual permit).

Fan District Association President Roger Whitfield was one of two who spoke against the ordinance; there were at least 15 speakers in favor (including a number of Fan residents).

Charles Samuels says: This does not allow the slaughter of any animals. This does not allow chickens in the front yard.

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PTG 04/08/2013 at 9:22 PM

On the last post it was listed for a certain size lot, is that still the case? Or can I, with my less-than-a-tenth-of-an-acre lot get me some chickens?

john_m 04/08/2013 at 9:41 PM

The ordinance specifies R-1 zoning, of which none of the East End appears to be. Turns out that the land uses cascade to the other zonings, and so if you can meet the requirements then you can have chickens.

My understanding is that the basic requirements are that your coop has to be in your backyard, and can’t be closer than 15 feet to your neighbor’s house.

spacecat 04/08/2013 at 10:54 PM

I am doing a little chickunz dance in celebration.

A $60 license is steep though. Still, it’s a start. I watched the city council meeting on TV, and it was quite an impassioned topic, both from the community and the council members.

Christopher Maxwell 04/08/2013 at 11:14 PM

Why do I only see three comments?

spacecat 04/08/2013 at 11:19 PM

Any word on the vote in regard to reduction of water bills? I thought that was also up for a vote in tonights session. The base rate was going to drop to $26 instead of $50. Can’t seem to find info on it at the moment.

chpn 04/09/2013 at 6:51 AM

@spacecat – all of the budget ordinances were presented for public response, but it will be a little while before they are up for vote. They’ll be up at the next CC meeting on April 22, but don’t get voted upon until May.

spacecat 04/09/2013 at 8:25 AM

@#7. Many of the ‘comments’ are Facebook ‘likes’. At the top of the comment section, there are a group of square icons that represent people who have read and liked a parallel feed to this discussion on Facebook.

@#9 Thanks for the clarification.

Corey Lane 04/09/2013 at 10:33 AM

Question: you can only keep up to 4 female chickens, but I thought the VA state minimum was that you had to buy 6 baby chicks. What do we do with the other two?

Hilltopper 04/09/2013 at 4:28 PM

Are the chickens allowed to roam free? I’ve walked past one or two homes that had chickens and saw them running around loose in the yard?

PTG 04/09/2013 at 4:55 PM

Is it 15′ from the home, or from the neighbors property? Property would put most of us out of luck.

Trying to sell my wife on the idea. I grew up with chickens, and loved going out on a crisp morning, gathering some eggs, and making breakfast.

john_m 04/09/2013 at 6:07 PM

It is my understanding that there must be a coop.

@PTG – the exact language says “dwelling”, which I take to be a house.

PTG 04/09/2013 at 9:34 PM

Fair enough. Now to convince the wife.

Alex 04/09/2013 at 11:59 PM

@13 – take them all, my guess is nobody’s counting. You can always say you got a pregnant one by mistake 😉

Or you could always let them free in Chimbo park. The off leash dogs would solve your problem for you…

SEW 04/10/2013 at 7:34 AM


“say you got a pregnant one by mistake ;-)” LOL That’s a hoot!

spacecat 04/10/2013 at 9:21 AM

@13 Buy a dozen with two other people and split them 3 ways.

@18 I thought Animal Control rounded up all those offleash dogs and sold them to restaurants in England to make up for budgetary shortfalls.:

Alex 04/10/2013 at 2:00 PM

Can anyone explain what the purpose of the $60 licensing fee is? Doesn’t seem like the city bears any additional expense if I want to have a chicken. Is that just to sweeten the pot enough that the city will approve this?

edg 04/10/2013 at 4:19 PM

how long do chickens live?

spacecat 04/10/2013 at 11:42 PM

First chicken permit has been filed. And there’s some heavyhandedness in there about dogs vs. chickens. Another reason to leash your dogs, apparently.

I believe the $60 permit is to offset the inspection of the coops by Animal Control. Backyard chickens can live 8-10 years and have been known to get to 20 years.

spacecat 04/10/2013 at 11:48 PM Reply
Brian 04/28/2017 at 8:30 AM

If I’m understanding correctly the 15 foot requirement is from your neighbors house not property? My deck and patio are in the back of my property next to my privacy fence. I’m just realizing as the weather warms the odor and excessive flies are because the neighbor’s chickens are just on the other side of the fence. As much as I like the idea of fresh eggs this makes this space unusable. Do I have any legal recourse?

Spacecat 04/28/2017 at 2:04 PM

Have you talked to your neighbors about correcting the problem? Clean coops shouldn’t have a lot of flies.

You can call Richmond Animal Control to have them inspect the coops.

Eric Huffstutler 04/28/2017 at 2:28 PM

Since there are so many laws on books concerning invasion of personal space, I would think the daily smell, especially prohibiting entertaining outside because of it, would be a legitimate concern? Not to mention the feathers for those who have chicken allergies?


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