Keeping Chickens in Shelby County

July 01, 2011
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Shelby County recently cemented-in changes to the rules for keeping chickens in the city with the adoption of the new Unified Development Code.


Article 2 Districts and Uses 2.6 Use Standards 2.6.1 Residential Use Standards Memphis/Shelby County 2-17 (8-10-10) Unified Development Code 4. Live chickens (hens only) kept on a single family detached lot (see also Code of Ordinances, City of Memphis, Article 8, Animals and Article 9, Health and Safety and Code of Ordinances, County of Shelby, Chapter 3, Animals and Chapter 14.5, Health and Sanitation)

a. Live chickens are permitted on single family detached lots of not less than 5,000 square feet, provided that 15 square feet of space is afforded per chicken and the number of chickens permitted on a lot shall not exceed one bird per 1,500 square feet of lot size up to a maximum of 6 chickens, subject to the issuance of a permit from the health officer.

b. Except in the Conservation Agriculture (CA) District, chickens must be kept in a securely enclosed yard or pen at all times and at least 5 feet from a property boundary.

c. Roosters are prohibited except in the Conservation Agriculture (CA) District.

d. Storage of feed: All food and feed kept on lots designated for single family detached use for feeding chickens shall be kept and stored in rat-free and rat-proof containers, compartments or rooms unless kept in a rat-proof building.

e. Management of chicken coops, chicken facilities and chicken waste:

1. Chickens and facilities for chickens must be managed to prevent the harborage of rodents and pests.

2. Facilities for chickens must be maintained in a manner to prevent noxious odors to adjoining properties.

3. Facilities for chickens must be located in a manner that prevents waste products from flowing onto adjacent properties or into natural or human-made storm channels.

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