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READ OUR PROPOSAL to City Council.
Welcome to Hens for Houston!
A movement to keep Houston current by allowing the raising of chickens on small city lots.
We now have 600+ members, thousands of petition signers and the support of Mayor Annise Parker!
“Hens for Houston” is working to promote a sustainable and progressive Houston in which city dwellers can keep chickens on the small city lots such as those found inside the Beltway and the 610 loop.
The current ordinance is outdated and based on the idea that chickens do not belong in an urban setting. This view is at odds with our current understanding of the necessity of green living to make our cities more sustainable, combat food deserts, and reacquaint our children with the food cycle. Plus, chickens make great pets!
Many urban cities, such as New York, San Antonio, and Dallas have progressive, forward-thinking ordinances allowing chickens on city lots. Even Bellaire, TX allows them!
Why should Houston get left behind?
How is this group working towards this goal?
Hens for Houston believes that to write a functional ordinance requires a dialogue between all interested parties and researched data to support a new proposal.
1) Eliminate the distance constraint which requires coops and chickens to observe a certain setback from neighboring residences. According to Houston’s Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC), the vast majority of chicken complaints fall under the general animal ordinances regarding noise, sanitation, and roaming-at-large. Violations of only the distance requirement do not generate complaints. Bellaire and San Antonio are two other Texas cities which successfully regulate chickens with just the general animal ordinance, without stipulating a setback.
2) Protect the rights of neighbors by punishing violations of the chicken ordinance to the same degree as violations by cats and dogs. It is important to respect the rights of those who wish to own chickens, and those who do not. The ordiance must be structured to dissuade disturbances to neighbors from chickens, just as there are structures to dissuade disturbances from other animals.
3) Recognize chicken waste as a valuable fertilizer. The current ordinance effectively prohibits the composting of chicken waste, a high-value organic fertilizer sold at garden stores across Houston. In comparision, the high levels of pathogens in cat and dog waste make it unfit for fertilizer.
Explore our website and you will find the results of research about an appropriate chicken ordinance for Houston. We have information about the current animal ordinances, information from other cities, a FAQ pages dispelling myths, GIS maps showing the effects of potential ordinances, interviews with Animal Control, the history of the ordinance, and more.
The end goal is an enforceable ordinance that will allow those who want to raise chickens like other pets to do so, while being responsible neighbors.