Hens for Houston

A movement to keep Houston current by allowing the raising of chicken hens on city lots

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Historical

History of Chicken Laws in Houston

Hens for Houston has investigated the history of the chicken ordinance, with the help of the City Secretary’s Office, and our volunteers. Below we chart the changes, beginning in 1942.

Year

Summary

Details

Ordinance

1942

Keep your chickens in your own yard.

Chickens are not allowed to run at large. Chickens kept for sale must be kept in batteries or coops inside. All droppings must be removed once a day and area must be disinfected/deodorized daily. Article VI. Bird and Fowls. Sec. 182, 183, 185.

1948

Chickens must be 100 ft from neighbors’ homes.

The 100ft rule is added. City Secretary’s office was unable to locate details of this particular change other than the ordinance number and summary. No. 7-15-48

1958

If you have health issues, you can have 7 hens in any sized yard.

With a certificate from a medical physician of the Harris County Medical Society, people needing fresh, unfertilized eggs for health reasons can have 7 chickens exempt  from the 100 ft rule. Otherwise, the number of chickens set at 30 for a 65 x 125 lot, or a ratio of such for larger areas. Rules about commercial chickens and show chickens are elaborated, and sanitation rules are included. No. 58-859 Sec 1, 8-13-58No. 58-1211 Sec 1, 11-5-58

1962

Lawsuit challenging the 100ft rule is discarded

In a suit to enjoin the enforcement of the 100ft rule (Sec 6-37) it was held that the plaintiffs did not sustain the burden of proving that the section is arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious.See: City of Houston v. Adams, Tex. Civ. App., 353 S.W. 2d 501

1968

Clarification to medical permit

Includes details on how the Director of Public Health oversees the issuance of medical permits No. 68-308 Sec 1, 2-27-68

1970

Minor change to medical permit

The physician prescribing  the health permit no longer must be a member of the Harris County Medical Society

1999

 

Cockatoos and macaws are exempt from chicken rules

Cockatoos and macaws are now exempt from the 100 ft rule. This was added with major changes to the wild animal laws. The State had allowed these laws to lapse, passing regulatory responsibility to municipalities. The vast majorities of these changes do not apply to chickens. No. 1999-404
 
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