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Is It Legal To Keep Chickens In Your Backyard In Arizona?

Arizona homeowners are always interested in raising chickens in their own backyards in order to produce fresh eggs; especially since we’ve all been spending more time at home.

So, are you allowed to raise backyard chickens? 

Well, the answer to your question is not as straightforward as you may have hoped: Before building a coop, and buying the chicken(s), be sure to research the local laws and covenants beforehand. Check whether raising chickens is allowed in your city, county or subdivision; you might have a zoning problem. If chickens are not forbidden, find out just how many chickens you are allowed to raise.

Every place in Arizona seems to have different regulations, but most cities have accepted their residents’ desire to own the friendly and useful birds.

  • In Phoenix, chickens might be OK with written permission from neighbors.
  • Scottsdale allows chickens, but if they’re a nuisance, you’re out of luck.
  • Within Flagstaff city limits, households may keep up to 25 hens as long as they are beyond 50 feet from any residential dwelling.
  • Tucson allows up to 24 hens in your backyard, but there are other regulations about how far away your coop and run can be from the neighbors.
  • Most cities agree, as long as they are a reasonable distance from the property line, and in an enclosed space, they are a go!**

Roosters are a big no-no almost everywhere due to the noise. One problem with chicks is you don’t know if you have a rooster in your brood until the bird is big enough to crow and irritate the neighbors.

Of course, HOAs and gated communities have their own rules but as stated above, regulations differ everywhere so check out your local rules and regulations before you invest. You can do so by calling your county or city ordinance offices. If you live in a gated luxury residential community, it’s probably safe to say you can forget all about raising chickens in the first place.

If you are indeed allowed to have chickens, do you have space?

Some Arizona residents wonder if they can raise chicks in an apartment or condo. We’ll just go ahead and say no; chickens need to have a yard to live in. You can’t put a chicken on a leash and take it for a walk like you would for your dog. Chickens also need space to find bugs to eat and they like to root around outdoors – these activities are important for a happy chicken.

Housing concerns

The right housing is very important. Chickens need to be in a run outside or enclosed in a coop for the night to protect them from wild critters like bobcats, coyotes and raccoons. You’ll want a sturdy fenced in area fastened to two-by-fours that are set in concrete with welded wire fencing on the roof of the enclosure and hardware cloth on the sides.

Coyotes can break through chicken wire, so don’t buy that. You want an enclosure that is almost a fortress, however you can choose from many prefabricated housing options that are on the market rather than having to build a coop yourself.

Where do you get a chicken?

So you’re allowed to have chickens,  you have the housing concerns taken care of, now where do you buy a chicken?

Try visiting local feed stores rather than going online. Feed stores should be able to answer all your questions about when and what to buy. You can also mix breeds.

Some people like chicks, whereas some like to buy adult hens, but so-called point-of-lay hens are hard to find.

  • Point-of-Lay: The estimated time at which your hens should start producing eggs

You want to buy a minimum of three chickens to start. Each bird will lay six eggs a week when they are from 6 to 24 months of age. As hens get older, they lay fewer eggs.

Chickens do fly

Generally, chickens will not try to fly off to neighboring yards, but you’ll want to lock them in their coop for a couple of weeks at first so they become acclimated to their new home.

You could trim the feathers on one wing of a chicken twice a year; but make sure you know what you’re doing before you go chopping away. This will prevent them from flying or getting airborne.

Some breeds fly better than others, so keep that in mind when you purchase your chickens. 

TIP: Make friends with your neighbors and share your eggs with them. That’s one way to avoid complaints.

**Always check your city for specifics on raising and keeping chickens, as ordinances are constantly changing.


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