Raising Chickens – Rules for DeKalb County

Q: I’ve heard that the DeKalb chicken-keeping ordinance has recently changed. The problem is, I cannot find any official documentation about that. Do you happen to know the latest?

A: Anne-Marie Anderson (The Celtic Gardener, (404) 667-1219, www.facebook.com/thecelticgardener_ says”

As you are no doubt aware, DeKalb County has been undergoing a general review and re-write of all their zoning ordinances. This was originally scheduled to go into effect in August 2013, but has been delayed on a month-to-month basis, and to my knowledge has still not been officially adopted.
The final draft of the new ordinances can be found at: http://planningdekalb.net/?page_id=1173
The new rules for keeping chickens, which are not expected to change, are as follows:
I. Keeping of chickens, pigeons.
1. The minimum fenced yard area for chickens shall be twenty-five (25) square feet per hen.
2. Chickens and pigeons must be housed at least twenty (20) feet from any property line, and fifty (50) feet from any residence other than the owner’s.
3. Any structure housing chickens and pigeons must be located in the rear yard if a principal building exists.
4. The minimum lot size for the keeping of chickens or pigeons is ten thousand (10,000) square feet. Fenced area for chickens shall comply with the setback requirements for accessory structures. Chickens and pigeons and associated structures and fencing shall comply with relevant articles of Chapters 16 and 18, relating to noise and property maintenance.
5. No roosters are allowed.
6. The maximum number of hens shall be one (1) hen per two thousand (2,000) square feet of lot size.
7. Each coop shall have at least four (4) square feet of floor space per chicken over four (4) months old. For Bantams, a variety defined as miniature, each coop shall have one (1) square foot of floor area per chicken over four (4) months old.
8. Chickens must be kept securely in an enclosed yard or pen at all times.
9. Chickens are only permitted as pets or for egg production; the chickens cannot be kept for slaughter.
10. Composted animal waste can be used as fertilizer for the purpose of enriching the soil of the owner’s property.
11. Animals must be kept under sanitary conditions and shall not be a public nuisance.
You should call DeKalb County Zoning Administrator Marian Eisenberg on 404-371-4922 for the latest status. Meantime, DeKalb County continues to enforce the previous ordinances, which classify chickens as livestock, therefore requiring a minimum property size of 2 acres before chickens are allowed.
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