Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken-Keeping and Property Values

I've been doing a lot of research on chicken-keeping in Greater Cincinnati over the past few weeks since the City of Montgomery proposed an ordinance prohibiting 'farm animals' (including a few backyard chickens) on lots of less than three acres. As I'm hard pressed to think of even a single noncommercial property of three acres that isn't city-owned, this effectively will prohibit residents from keeping backyard chickens.

As one of the key issues for a lot of folks seems to be whether or not chicken-keeping will hurt property values, I started there. Here's what I've found:

Communities which allow chicken-keeping tend to have HIGHER property values than those that prohibit it.
Here's the data (please do call any mistakes to my attention -- this is the best I could determine from various communities' ordinances as posted online):

Chicken-Keeping Ordinances*
2007 Average Home Sales Price**
Indian Hill
Terrace Park
Generally Permit
$ 400K
$ 345K
Generally Permit
$ 326K
Symmes Township
$ 313K
Generally Permit (currently)
$ 297K
Generally Permit
$ 288K
Generally Permit
$ 274K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 213K
Generally Permit
$ 212K
Blue Ash
Case by Case***
$ 202K
Generally Permit
$ 174K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 166K
Sycamore Township
Essentially Prohibit
$ 165K
$ 157K
Generally Permit
$ 152K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 144K
$ 131K
Deer Park
Generally Permit
$ 130K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 127K
St Bernard
Generally Permit
$ 124K
$ 119K
Mt Healthy
Essentially Prohibit
$ 116K
* Generally Permit: chicken keeping is allowed under minor restrictions intended to prevent chickens from becoming a nuisance. Restricted: chicken-keeping is allowed, but ordinances will prevent a significant number of residents from keeping chickens. Essentially Prohibit: chickens are allowed under such profound restrictions as to prevent most residents from keeping chickens.
** Source:
*** Blue Ash requires "suburban farms" practicing "poultry husbandry" to have at least five acres, but they don't define "poultry husbandry." The city compliance inspector I asked about this said that a few backyard chickens would likely be handled on a case-by-case basis if there were complaints.

Now, I'd never use this data to argue that keeping chickens actually raises property values, but it certainly doesn't prove the opposite, either.

Montgomery is giving their proposed ordinance its second of three required public readings at tomorrow's meeting (Wednesday June 3, 7:00, 10101 Montgomery Rd) if anyone would like to attend, if only to provide evidence that I'm not just the Crazy Chicken Lady of Montgomery. The last meeting I attended started right on time and ended at 7:35, so there's not a huge time commitment to showing your support for suburban chicken-keeping!


farmingfriends said...

This is very interesting. I wonder whether it's the same for the UK?
Kind regards
sara from farmingfriends

Kevin said...

good story! I am currently researching the law here in Texas. We are looking at relocating and the city we are moving to has an "essentially prohibit" rule. I'd like to get it changed. This is an angle I've never thought about. Thanks, KM

valereee said...

Hi, farmingfriends! I have no idea whether this data is generalizable anywhere else, unfortunately. But it's certainly something that could be used to show that chickens aren't =necessarily= a threat to property values. The town I live in is an upscale suburb of a largish city known for being somewhat conservative.

Kevin, I would recommend visiting the City Council and addressing them (you'll probably need to sign in and fill out a card) ahead of time. Let them know this is one of the factors you're considering as you choose a new house to buy.

lizabeht said...

Great article, Locavores! Do you know if Kennedy Heights has any restrictions on keeping chickens? I have been offered a pair of bantams and would love to accept.

valereee said...

lizabeht, Kennedy Heights is City of Cincinnati, so you can have chickens! I know of many people who are keeping chickens on city lots.

Anonymous said...

I am curious to find out if anyone from Blue Ash has had any problems keeping chickens? How many do you have?

valereee said...

Hi, Anonymous! I don't have any chickens myself -- my 15-yo daughter would DIE if I got chickens. :D

I talk to a city compliance inspector in Blue Ash while I was doing the research for the Chicken Manifesto. They haven't had any complaints, but they did have a report a few years ago of some chickens loose on Brasher, in the Kenridge neighborhood. I have a friend who lives on Brasher, and she told me, "Oh, yes, there were chickens. Once in a while they got loose, but otherwise they didn't bother anyone."

In Blue Ash, the ordinance requires "urban farms" practicing "poultry husbandry" to be five acres or more. However, it doesn't define "poultry husbandry." When I pointed out to the compliance inspector that generally keeping four or five chickens for eggs and not breeding them wouldn't really qualify as "husbandry," he agreed and said that they'd likely handle it case-by-case if there were any complaints. So I count that as a qualified "chickens allowed" suburb. If you don't annoy your neighbors, you're probably okay.

Chris said...

We are in Plainville. For those who don't know, this is a small area tucked between Indian Hill, Mariemont and Terrace Park. It is Columbia Township. We hav ten chickens. My boyfriend has raised 7 pigs over the years. We got a notice yesterday that uur chickens have to go. We are sad. The chickens have been raised on organic feed, lots of good scraps and they free range in the yard when we are home. They are due to begin laying in the next 20 days or so.

By the way, if anyone is looking for a resource for organic feed, we found a farmer north of Middletown who has a large organic chicken farm and grows his own organic feed with a Fertrell vitamin supplement. You can e-mail me at for details.

Anyway, we are going to appeal the decision based on the fact that he has been farming on his property for 20 years. He has a garden, compost heap, and as I mentioned, has raised several pigs.

If anyone has any ideas or knows of any people who are working to persuade Hamilton County, please let me know.

It is rediculous that we should be forced to buy factory eggs when we can produce them cheaply ourselves. Plus, we love the chickens. They all have names, and we are able to discuss their individual personalities.

My boyfriend hunts, fishes, forages, gardens....he has been doing for the last 30 years the things that are now coming into vogue. The guy has no 'footprint' as they say. He collects rainwater for his household use, and heats with wood.

Anyway, I am trailing off. We are going to try to institue a change in the rules. If anyone else is working on this, I would like to know so that we are not duplicating efforts. Thanks!

valereee said...

Chris, are you sure it's the County and not the Township that is telling you to get rid of the chickens? As far as I know, Hamilton County has no rules about chicken-keeping.

Do you know about the cincinnati backyard chickens group on yahoo? It's at

AM said...

Do you know Oakley has any restrictions on keeping chickens in your backyard? I am very interested in keeping chickens, but am clueless when it comes to all of the ordinances and who has what authority...I couldnt find any information about Oakley having their own village or township ordinance, so I am assuming the laws would just default to Hamilton County? And Hamilton County allows them correct? Thanks so much!

valereee said...

Hi, AM! Oakley is city of Cincinnati, so you go by Cincinnati's requirements. I believe there are very few restrictions in the city.

Deboriah said...

Our city..Trinidad, Texas has recently passed an ordinance against keeping farm animals on less then 3 acres of land as well. We called a state representative and were told that there are federal laws that protect us from this ordinance. We are allowed to keep farm animals for producing our own eggs, milk, etc...
They are sending us info in the mail and we will be sharing it with everyone we can.

valereee said...

Deboriah, I'd love to see this info when you get it!

Anonymous said...

Hello There,

Thank you for all the wonderful info about chickens. I am relocating from Detroit to Cincinnati due to my husband's new job. We are very interested in backyard chickens for our personal use and I can't tell you how pleased I am to see so many lovely neighborhoods that allow chickens! Even Indian Hill!

Who would have thought? :-)

Keep up the great blog posts!


jr said...

We live in Clermont County, Ohio Mt Repose which is Miami Township. I would like to raise about 7 chickens, no roosters. My husband want to build a chicken coop with the entire thing closed top and bottom with plenty of room for the chickens to roam. Do you know if this is allowed? We live on a acre of land.


jr said...

We live in Clermont County, Ohio Mt Repose which is Miami Township. I would like to raise about 7 chickens, no roosters. My husband want to build a chicken coop with the entire thing closed top and bottom with plenty of room for the chickens to roam. Do you know if this is allowed? We live on a acre of land.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious where you found the information that Mariemont permits chickens, since I have heard that Mariemont doesn't allow them. Could you possibly show me that source? It would be much appreciated! Thanks!

valereee said...

JR, if you go to the yahoo group you can find a database of local chicken ordinances that will tell you if chickens are allowed in your area!

valereee said...

Anonymous, I believe chickens have always been legal in Mariemont under certain conditions, at least as recently as 2009. The information in my table was from calls I personally made to municipalities around the area or research I did online of their posted ordinances.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if backyard chickens are allowed in Deer Park, Ohio. Any information about how many and how much land would be helpful as well.

jimmycat said...

This is incorrect about Mt. Healthy. I am on City Council in MH, and we currently allow chicken-keeping as long as they are for domestic use and currently have many residents who have backyard coops legally.

We are currently working on updating our code regarding chickens, but they are allowed and will continued to be allowed.

Feel free to email me with additional questions, I would appreciate if you correct your site.

James Wolf

James said...

Mt. Healthy does allow chickens.

I am on City Council in MH and can definitively say that chicken keeping is allowed as long as it is for domestic use. We currently have many residents who raise backyard chickens and are happy to have them in the City.

We are currently working on updating our ordinances relating to chickens, but can tell you that chicken keeping has always been legal and will continue to be legal.

Please update your blog to correct this and feel free to email me with any additional questions or concerns.


James Wolf


Anonymous said...

I have been having a hard time pinning down a concrete answer, so I figures I'd ask here. I live within city limits of Hamilton Ohio, that's butler county. We are wanting to get 3-4 hens to raise for eggs. They would have a completely covered run along with coupe. There would be no free-ranging what so ever. The ordinance that I have found isn't clear on its definition of cages fowl. Any clarification would be great!
Thank you and God Bless

Valerie Taylor said...

Anonymous, your best bet is to call the city of Hamilton and ask what their zoning and ordinances allow and/or require with regard to keeping chickens.

Valerie Taylor said...

James, thanks for your comment. The city may have no plans to enforce this, but the land use code only allows "The keeping of small animals, provided, however, that buildings housing animals be at least 100 feet from adjacent property lines and that the lot or tract of land have an area of not less than ten acres." So for most residents, this would seem to essentially prohibit the keeping of chickens. This is why I have Mt Healthy listed as 'essentially prohibit' rather than 'prohibit.' You're allowed to keep chickens if you have at least ten acres of land. Even requiring the coops/enclosures to be 100' from property lines limits it to properties of about an acre.

Anonymous said...

I am interested in hearing from neighbors in Deer Park! How many do you have and have you had any problems?

Valerie Taylor said...

Hi, anonymous! You might try joining the cincinnati backyard chickens group at