Backyard chickens and rabbits may be allowed across Ohio


Backyard chickens and rabbits may be allowed across Ohio

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State lawmakers are considering a bill that would usurp local zoning rules against keeping small livestock, such as chickens or goats, in residential yards. COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Backyard chickens, goats, rabbits and other small livestock may become more common and less regulated in Ohio, if a bill introduced Wednesday becomes law.

State Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, and 20 co-sponsors are backing House Bill 175, which aims to sidestep local zoning laws that limit or prohibit keeping backyard chickens and other farm animals.

Brinkman’s bill prescribes a limit of how many small livestock can be kept in a residential backyard based on overall acreage and the type of animal. If you live on one acre, you could have up to 20 chickens, 20 rabbits or three goats. If you live on a quarter-acre, your fowl or small animal limit would be a five and goats wouldn’t be allowed.

It also says roosters, which are notoriously noisy, aren’t included as small livestock.

The bill also sets conditions for the small livestock owners to follow: sturdy housing for the animals that is no less than 10 feet from neighboring property lines, no noxious odors or unsanitary conditions, and no nuisances.

The bill is likely to, ahem, ruffle some feathers. Area communities such as Beavercreek, Dayton and Huber Heights have struggled with conflicting views on whether backyard chickens should be allowed.

Danielle Richardson of Cincinnati said she has been working with Brinkman on the bill to establish minimum property rights when it comes to gardening and raising small livestock. “People are fighting for the right to produce their own food,” she said.

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