Roswell Limits Backyard Chickens

In a surprise move, the Roswell City Council voted 6 to 2 to ban all roosters and restrict the number of backyard chickens based upon lot size. 

Under the new ordinance, no chickens are allowed on residential lots of 1/3 acre or less. Homeowners with 1/3 to 1 acre can keep six chickens.  Homeowners with more than 1 acre can have 12 birds per acre, up to a maximum of 36. Chickens can also be kept at schools. Chicken enclosures must be set back at least 50 feet from neighboring property lines.  The ordinance does not regulate lots larger than 2 acres.

Chicken keepers seemed surprised by last minute changes.

Under the most recent version on the table, residents could have kept up to 25 birds in some sort of enclosure at single-family homes, no matter what the lot size. People already keeping more than 25 chickens could have obtained a permit for up to 15 more birds. That version was based largely on Atlanta’s law.

Andrew Wordes, who had led the charge to loosen up the city’s backyard chicken law, seemed stunned after the meeting. He said he has about 150 birds, some miniature sized, and didn’t know the proposed ordinance had changed.

“I’ve got .97 acre, so legally I’m allowed six chickens,” Wordes said. “I don’t see how we can have murders happening near city hall and we’re concerned about chickens.”

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rhonda on May 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    At least you can have chickens. I have a .9 acre and am not allowed ANY under the current regulations. In Clayton County you must have 3 acres to even own ONE chicken!! I’m not sure who to contact about easing the restrictions, but in this day of recession, and job loss, we need back yard chickens. They provide free natural organic healthy eggs, plus they provide fertilizer for the back yard garden. I’m not talking about a rooster. Just a few hens. Can anyone please tell me who to contact about easing the hen restriction in Clayton County?

  2. Posted by Anonymous on September 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Clayton County code is very vague. I have chickens. I have been given one notice, about 2 months ago. I have debated the issue with the zoning administrator and have emailed her. The county says “livestock” is not permitted. However, it does not define livestock. By dictionary definitions, poultry is often excluded from the term livestock…in Encyclopedia Britannica as well. Also, in the definition of “farm” in the zoning code, livestock and poultry are mentioned seperately, thereby (in my opinion) making a distinction between livestock and poultry right there in the code. Also the definition of domestic pet does not exclude chickens. So while the county may want to say that the code says we can’t have chickens, I highly disagree & will continue to fight to keep mine. Like many codes, Clayton County’s was not written with backyard chickens in mind & seriously needs to be updated. I have chose to keep my chickens at this point & see what happens. I don’t believe that I have had any bonafide complaints, I know my neighbors well. I think the code enforcement guys were just riding around on some other issue and happened to see my pen in the backyard. I will try to post any developments. Best of luck to you. 🙂

  3. Posted by rhondajo3 on October 1, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Thanks for your reply, and I will look forward to anything new! 🙂

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