Should chickens be kept as pets? The city of Rockledge, Fla. seems to think so. On Feb. 11, 2013 Florida Today reported that the city passed an ordinance listing chickens as pets. The ordinance states that residents who live within city limits may keep up to four pets; any combination of dogs, cats, or chickens.
In order to keep chickens, residents must get permission from 25 percent of their neighbors if they live within a subdivision. All others must get permission from their adjoining neighbors. One of the councilmen, Frank Forester, opposed the law. Forester told Florida Today that he was not against residents owning chickens but that the law did not need to create a bureaucratic nightmare by requiring a percentage of neighbors to allow chicken ownership. He feels that the requirements should be the same for dogs or cats.
Rockledge Mayor, Tom Price, does not see any problems with keeping chickens. He has lived in an area where his neighbors kept chickens and says there were never any problems.
The city ordinance specifically states that roosters are not allowed. Also, chickens may not be kept for commercial purposes and they cannot be raised for slaughter.
Thinking about keeping chickens as pets? Before you dive into chicken pethood, check to see if you can legally keep a chicken. Then you will need to figure out where you will keep your pet. If your chicken is going to be a house pet, hygiene will be a major concern—what will you do with all that chicken poop.
For outdoor chickens, protection from the elements and predators is a must. Stray cats, raccoons, opossum, foxes and coyotes are all threats to pet chickens.
Should chickens be kept as pets? Just because something is legal to do, does not make it a good idea. If you are going to keep a chicken as a pet, do so responsibly. Know what the chicken requires in order to be happy and healthy—then make your decision.
Lynda Altman is an animal lover and advocate. She owns 3 dogs—all rescues. You can find her volunteering her time at one of the local animal shelters. Contact Lynda by clicking the link at the top of the page or via Twitter @fusgeyer.