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Hens for Houston

Looking for a new cause to get involved in? Here’s a movement to allow people to raise hens in Houston.

Vision:

“Hens for Houston” is working to promote a sustainable and progressive Houston in which city dwellers can keep 4-6 hens on the small city lots such as those found inside the Beltway and the 610 loop.

Why?

The current ordinance is outdated and based on the idea that chickens do not belong in an urban setting. This view is at odds with our current understanding of the necessity of green living to make our cities more sustainable, combat food deserts, and reacquaint our children with the food cycle. Plus, hens make great pets!

Many urban cities, such as New York, Chicago, and Dallas have progressive, forward-thinking ordinances permitting the keeping of 4-6 hens on city lots. Even Bellaire, TX has chickens!

You can learn more about their mission on the Why Hens? page and at their FAQ. This is still a work in progress, as they do not yet have a proposed ordinance prepared. If you want to support the effort, they’ve got a petition at Change.org to sign.

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9 Comments

  1. Houstonian says:

    News to me. I thought they were already legal.

  2. Darby Mom says:

    Thought you could already have up to 3 chickens; if they want more, go for it, but words of caution: A friend used to have them and found himself overwhelmed by chicken manure; raccoons finally solved the problem. And, finally, speaking from a farmer’s point of view, it’s a pain catching the old ones, chopping off the heads, cleaning the bird, scalding the feathers off–maybe if you are a bird hunter, it’s ok, but I’ll take eggs and chicken from the grocery.

  3. Jacklyn says:

    I thought so too. I live in the inner loop area & have a neighbor across the street with a chicken coop.

  4. TexMike says:

    I thought so too.I heard Houston was very liberal in that you could have up to 30 hens. However, the coop had to be so many feet from neighboring homes. So maybe that distance is what is in dispute.

  5. Heights resident says:

    Please leave the chicken raising to the chicken farms and purchase your eggs and chickens at the grocery store. In most areas inside the city there are now 2 or more homes where 1 home was previously located. It is already crowded and noisey. Do do we really need to add more to the mix? Chickens are not usually as much of the problem as the owners. Most of those inside the city will think it is a “cool” concept, but unfortunately do not understand how to properly care for them. Can you imagine the smell during our hot humid summers? What will the neighbors who do not have chickens experience during a heavy rain? Nasty fecal water from the yard with the chickens. There are current rules in place and there are folks who have chickens in my neighborhood. So far, it has not been a pleasant experience and like most other rules and regulations in Houston, enforcement is lacking.

  6. Garden Oaks Resident says:

    I thought they were legal. We have 3 in the backyard and they are interesting and entertaining pets. We get about 3 eggs a day. We actually keep them in the side yard, which is pretty big. My only complaint about chickens and its the reason they are not in the main yard is that they just love to dig and scratch and will gravitate to flower beds and vegetable gardens………and so they kick all of my mulch out into the patio and yard. Last year I had to save them from a coon and then a couple of weeks later from a hungry hawk…….up to that point we didn’t even lock their coop at night; now we do.

  7. Ross says:

    Her’s the ordinance:

    Sec. 6-31. – Location restrictions for fowl.

    It shall be unlawful, except as provided in sections 6-33 and 6-34 of this Code, for any person to keep, possess or maintain in the city any chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pea-fowls, or any other bird or fowl, except parakeets, canaries, parrots, cockatoos, macaws or similar size birds, or any pens, enclosures, or other structures in which any such fowl are kept or possessed within 100 feet of any actual residence or habitation of human beings, or within 100 feet of any church, school or hospital, other than the residence of the keeper, possessor or owner of such fowl, such distance of 100 feet to be measured in a straight line from the nearest point of any pen, enclosure, or other such structure in which such fowl are kept to the nearest point of such actual residence or place of human habitation, or church, school or hospital.

  8. Tiffany Tyler says:

    The bigger issue is that there has been no enforcement of the ordinance for so long that lots of people have hens, and now we are starting to see enforcement. So a change is in order.

    As for the complaints about smell, noise and manure runoff, 3 hens is roughly equal to having a dog. Some people shouldn’t have dogs, and some people shouldn’t have hens, either. But lots of them do. That’s no reason to say that people who understand what upkeep is required and do a good job taking care of their animals shouldn’ t have a legal right to keep them.

    And compared to supermarket eggs, yard eggs taste a whole lot better. Chickens that scratch in the dirt, eat veggie scraps and bugs produce a much tastier egg than chickens fed commercial feed and kept in battery cages.

  9. […] here for more about the local movement called Hens for Houston. The Chron had a Sunday feature story […]