Would you raise chickens in your backyard?

Backyard chickens

(Photo via stock.xchng user annbra)

A few weeks ago, I trekked up to Dillsburg for a presentation on raising backyard poultry. As part of National Library Week, 4-H educator Mary Jo Kraft detailed what breeds, feeds and housing structures someone would need to raise a few hens. And judging by the audience reaction, it’s not just a few people who are interested in the idea.

While homeowners’ ordinances and municipal zoning laws can sometimes throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans, plenty of local families and residents are adapting “homesteading” to fit into their backyards.

Do you have a pair of hens in your backyard? Have you considered, or are you considering the option? I’d love to chat about what went into your decision (whether you went forward with the plans or not) and any obstacles you encountered. Leave a comment here, send me an email at schain@ydr.com, or give me a ring at 771-2090.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.

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7 Responses

  1. Pam says:

    I would LOVE to have chickens in my backyard, but before getting too excited after seeing some chicks for sale, I called the York Township office. They informed me that I need to have at least 2 acres in order to have chickens or ducks.

    I saw a website that had diapers for chickens, and for a fleeting moment I considered sneaking some indoors…

  2. We live on six hilly acres and have 11 hens and 2 roosters. And now we have 28 new baby chicks in our garage (ordered thru the mail)! We love them for the fresh eggs, garden help, and the company. The kids name them and give them each an ankle bracelet so they won’t get them mixed up. My daughter even walked one in the new freedom pet parade! Chickens are easier (and cheaper) than just about any other pet.

  3. chelsey says:

    That is really upsetting! I just called York Township to find out if I could have chickens (hens only for eggs) and the zoning person I needed to speak with is out, but you answered my question! I just don’t understand. On backyardchickens.com they list chicken ordinances in different states and it is listing that York City allows up to 6 hens, no roosters. If York City can have hens, I don’t know why we can’t in York Township! Maybe there is more to the ordinance in York City than the website shows, but I am really upset about this!

  4. Pam says:

    Chelsey, I was really surprised when she told me about the 2 acres since having chickens in urban areas seems to be a growing trend. Maybe if enough people speak up or get together, we can have it overturned someday. I wanted the chickens for eggs too. We eat about 6 dozen a week.

  5. Mary says:

    I know this article is a year old, but I’m searching high and low to find some information about a borough outside of York City. (Won’t mention which one at this point–no sense in drawing attention to myself now.) It’s nearly impossible to find information. I have over 1/3 of an acre and just got three hens. Neighbors say (since I’ve gotten them) that it’s against an ordinance, but again, I can’t seem to find specific information. It’s not like I want to march into the borough office and announce I need specific information that says I can’t have hens–unless I have to. (Which is a last resort.)

  6. April Trotter says:

    Hi Mary —
    Unfortunately, we don’t have the ordinances handy for specific boroughs and townships. I’d recommend calling your borough office and anonymously asking if you’re concerned. Best of luck with raising the chickens!
    — April

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