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Discover How OKC Chickens Are Flourishing

By Tom Seest

Are Backyard Chickens Thriving In Oklahoma City?

At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.

Backyard chickens are a hot topic in OKC, but the City Council is considering changes to the city ordinance. The amendments will limit backyard chicken owners to six chickens or quail. In addition, residents will have to provide adequate shelter for their chickens overnight. The City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed changes.

Are Backyard Chickens Thriving In Oklahoma City?

Are Backyard Chickens Thriving In Oklahoma City?

Is Raising Chickens in Oklahoma City Right for You?

The Oklahoma City Council recently approved guidelines for backyard chickens. Before, only residents who lived on an acre or larger could raise chickens. The new ordinance will take effect March 4, 2016. Among the requirements are keeping the chickens clean and free from disease and maintaining a four-foot-square coop for each chicken. You are also required to keep the coop closed at night and not let the animals out until dawn. You also cannot keep roosters in your coop.
City officials did hold a focus group of chicken owners, which produced recommendations that were close to best practices. Fortunately, the council’s recommendations were not overly strict and will likely be accepted by most citizens. The city council did not want to encourage backyard chickens on lots smaller than an acre.
Oklahoma City currently allows the raising of four to six chickens in a backyard. Residents in other cities are not permitted to keep more than six. In Tulsa, residents can raise up to six chickens but not roosters. Although rats do not tend to eat chickens, they love to steal their eggs.
Depending on the breed of chickens you decide to keep, you’ll need to follow local ordinances to protect them from predators. You should also consider the climate in your area. Chickens should live in a sanitary environment with clean, ventilated air and bedding. They should also have a roost area. When applying for a permit, make sure you have taken a course on chicken care. The class must be at least two hours long.

Is Raising Chickens in Oklahoma City Right for You?

Is Raising Chickens in Oklahoma City Right for You?

Is it Worth the Risk?

Recently, a new Oklahoma City ordinance has made it illegal to raise chickens on city property. Before, the city only allowed chickens on agricultural properties. In December 2013, the council accidentally reversed its decision and now says anyone with backyard chickens must dispose of them within three months or face a $500 fine.
The city has not made a final decision, but the council will be studying whether to allow urban chickens. Organizers say the city does not want to look like a redneck when it comes to chickens, so they are comparing the ordinance to other cities. Several other cities have already banned backyard chickens.
Backyard chicken permits aren’t renewable, but residents should get one if they move to another property. A new permit may be required if you plan on moving to another property or changing your zoning to single-family. Additionally, the city may revoke the permit if the Animal Services Department recommends it. But, you have the option to appeal the decision to the Edmond City Manager.
Although the city’s ordinance does not specifically prohibit backyard chickens, it does restrict the number of chickens per household. In Tulsa, for example, a homeowner can have up to six chickens in their backyard.

Is it Worth the Risk?

Is it Worth the Risk?

City Ordinance

Oklahoma City is considering allowing backyard chickens, but some local residents are concerned about the noise they cause. Proponents of urban farming argue that chickens are a good source of food and produce and are easy to raise in the backyard. Other opponents argue that a neighborhood’s sanitation will suffer and the city would add more responsibility to its code enforcement officers. In the 2014 council vote, the measure was defeated.
OKC staffers have heard from Moore residents, Norman and Edmond police, and local government employees. Yet despite all of the support, the ordinance has received mixed opinions from residents and city staff. The OKC city council didn’t want more noise complaints from residents who live near backyard chickens, so it needed time to create a process for addressing any ordinance violations.
The City Council in Oklahoma City will soon consider an ordinance to allow backyard chickens. It is expected to vote on the ordinance on Feb. 1. The ordinance will allow residents to keep up to six chickens or quail but no roosters. In addition, quail and chickens will have to be sheltered at night. Additionally, residents would not be allowed to slaughter chickens on their property.
While backyard chickens do make noise, the noise is less than other noise sources, such as barking dogs or wild birds. In addition, backyard chickens do not smell bad. Nonetheless, local governments are wary of this new trend.

City Ordinance

City Ordinance

Is Your Family Safe from Backyard Chicken Health Risks?

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Health Services is reminding Oklahoma poultry owners of the health risks of backyard chickens. The state has identified two diseases that can cause severe illness and even death to chickens. One, the highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, is transmitted by wild birds. The disease can infect backyard flocks and commercial poultry. Although the disease rarely infects humans, it is a serious concern for poultry owners. The first step in controlling the spread of this disease is to keep poultry from being exposed to wild birds.
The second health risk involves exposure to contaminated food and water. If you keep your chickens in coops that contain water, you should keep them indoors. It’s also important to keep chickens away from ducks, which can pass on diseases to chickens. You should also wear protective gear when handling your chickens, like a face mask. The last thing you want is to contract salmonella or any other disease from your backyard chickens.
Backyard chickens are a controversial issue in Oklahoma City. On March 21, the council voted to allow backyard quail and chickens, but not roosters. The ordinance was passed by a 6-3 margin after two previous attempts failed. During the public hearings, both proponents and opponents of the proposal spoke.

Is Your Family Safe from Backyard Chicken Health Risks?

Is Your Family Safe from Backyard Chicken Health Risks?

What’s Lurking in Your Coop?

One of the most common backyard chicken pests is poultry lice. These tiny, straw-colored parasites live on the chickens’ feather shafts and dead skin. They tend to congregate around vents and underneath the wings. To prevent infestation, poultry owners should check the flock at least once a month.
Chickens also eat a wide variety of insects, including Colorado potato beetles and grasshoppers. Backyard chickens also eliminate weeds and kitchen scraps, making them an excellent source of fertilizer. You can learn more about backyard chicken care by attending OSU Extension’s Backyard Chickens course.
Raccoons are another common backyard chicken pest. Raccoons can tear the bird’s crop and breasts. They will also eat the eggs, especially those within nine meters of the nest. Raccoons are attracted to urban areas and will often target backyard poultry flocks.
Backyard chickens make a fair amount of noise, but they are far less noisy than barking dogs, some wild birds, garbage trucks, and AC units. In addition, they don’t stink like dogs. However, there are some issues with backyard chickens in Oklahoma. A city ordinance that prohibits backyard chickens on lots less than one acre is one of the biggest hurdles to allowing backyard chickens in Oklahoma.

What's Lurking in Your Coop?

What’s Lurking in Your Coop?

Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.


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