With the farm-to-table movement all the rage, and demand for more transparency in the production of our food, home coops have taken off. You may think that because you live in an urban area you can’t possibly be permitted to have your own chicken coop or because you live in a suburban or rural area you can keep as many chickens as you’d like, but you would be surprised. For example, the City of White Plains only requires that any chickens kept in the city be, “securely enclosed in such a manner as to prevent them from straying from the premises of the person owning them.” White Plains Code of Ordinances, § 5-2-1(a). On the other hand, the Westchester Village of Port Chester prohibits any chickens or roosters from being kept within its limits. Port Chester Village Code, § 136-14.
While many towns and villages in New York permit the keeping of chickens on residential property, it is common for localities to ban roosters. The Village of Nyack prohibits “owning or keeping a rooster within village limits” and violation constitutes disorderly conduct. Village of Nyack Code, § 131-1. Similarly, some towns place restrictions on just how many chickens you can have on your property.
In the Town of Somers, Westchester County, a maximum of six (6) chickens (but no mature cockerels) may be kept on your property if its area totals 40,000 square feet or more. Somers Town Code, § 170-11. If you want to keep more chickens on your property than your town allows, you’ll need to ask the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance and/or a special use permit.
Bottom line: Home coops are permitted in many localities throughout New York State, but always check out your town code before bringing your chickens home.
We at Klose & Associates can help you navigate the rules in your locality, and obtain the necessary variances or permits to get you eating fresh eggs daily!