August 3, 2012

Are backyard chickens for you?


Backyard chickens are growing in popularity, for both fresh eggs and insect control, although they are against code in many areas, as well as prohibited by most homeowner associations.

I met a young Virginia couple in Jamestown Feed & Seed who were shopping with their two young children for chickens. They were tired of pulling ticks off their kids and heard that chickens would rid a yard of ticks in no time.

The City of Williamsburg has nothing in the City Code prohibiting chickens, but they must be contained in your yard. Backyard hens are legal in some York County districts if you have 2500 square feet per chicken and follow a lot of other regs, as well as fill out an application. The James City County Zoning Ordinance permits the keeping of chickens in A-1, General Agricultural; R-6, Low-Density Residential and R-8, Rural Residential Zoning Districts.

Please check out your local zoning regs before purchasing any hens for eggs and/or insect control. And remember that roosters are usually prohibited in most suburban areas because they "cock-a-doodle-do" around the clock. I learned that in Key West after I found the free-roaming roosters quite delightful during the day.