19 thoughts on “Downtown Chicken Coop”

  1. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I remember walking past a house on JPA that had chickens in the yard while I was attending UVa. I cannot recall seeing that anywhere else that I have lived.

  2. I was surprised to see such a fuss made over this in the C-Ville article… I live downtown, and I’ve already got a chicken coop in my backyard!

  3. Chickens are awesome. I’m happy to say that we have quite a few of them in the Woolen Mills. There’s nothing better for you and your family than fresh eggs coming from healthy happy chickens that you’ve raised yourself. You can control what they eat to make sure that you’re not getting bad stuff in your diet. As a chef, I can attest that they make everything you use them in SO much better!

    I agree, it’s really sad to see such a fuss raised over something that’s so positive. Are we now so far removed from our roots that something as mundane and innocuous as a chicken coop is looked upon with suspicion? As recently as 60 years ago, many people had both chickens and big vegetable gardens in their yards, even in relatively urban settings. We had some lovely milk cows in the Woolen Mills in the past, but what we need now are a few dairy goats.

  4. Of course the ordinance bans roosters, and if neighbors complained about noise or smell, you’d probably have a problem with the City.
    Personally, I prefer crowing roosters to obnoxious, yappy dogs that go on for hours.
    As the city has grown, it has lost so much of its bucolic flavor. I hope the city chicken business flourishes.

  5. Amusingly, it’s illegal to have a goat in Charlottesville, but you can legally have a bull so long as you don’t allow it to “run at large.”

    Sec. 4-7. Livestock at large.
    No person shall permit a horse, mule, cow, bull, sheep or hog to run at large in the city.

    Sec. 4-9. Keeping hogs, goats and sheep.

    (b) No goats shall be kept within the city.

  6. Hollowboy, are you sure roosters are banned? There was a guy about ten years ago that had for years an outdoors rooster he called a pet. My parents had hens and roosters in the city until the sixties.

  7. I think Cville Eye is right. Everyone says you can’t have roosters, but I believe that’s incorrect. It’s my understanding that the code doesn’t mention roosters at all. I’d rather be awakened by a rooster than a garbage truck or leaf-blower any day, but am sure my neighbors might not agree!

    Considering the economy, it would be nice to allow dairy goats in the city– provided the numbers were limited, that the lot they were on was of a sufficient size, and if they were housed a proscribed distance from an adjoining home. There are many lots in the Woolen Mills large enough to hold one or two goats. Sometimes goats escape from the livestock yard and come to visit us, and that’s nice.

    Does the code mention miniature donkeys…?

  8. Roosters appear to be fine. The only mention I can find of chickens in the code is:

    Sec. 4-8. Fowl at large.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to permit any chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons or other fowl belonging to him to go at large in the city; except, that homing pigeons may be released for return to their cote without violating this section.

    No specific mention of roosters anywhere that I can find.

  9. Kind of funny that we let deer run wild all over town, but keeping a goat or two to eat the grass (and rosebushes) is illegal. Must have been the string trimmer lobby that done that to us.

  10. I don’t think it’s really a matter of our letting deer run wild all over town–no more so than we let, say, squirrels run wild all over town or birds fly all over town. They just do!

  11. The C-Ville article said “though city ordinances don’t prohibit chickens, they do ban roosters as well as free-roaming fowl.” Thats where I got the information.
    I do remember the controversy between neighbors about a noisy pet rooster.The question was raised as to whether it was covered by the city noise ordinance, but I don’t recall how it was settled.
    I do know people around the city keep chickens and not just Belmont or Woolen Mills. Few years ago I heard chickens off JPA, near UVa. And one time, there was a presumably escaped chicken scratching in bushes near the Rotunda!
    Also some time in the 80s a Uva fraternity was discovered to have a goat tied in the back yard and got in trouble with the SPCA because they refused to tell them why they had a goat. The SPCA director said that their refusal “gave rise to all sorts of unpleasant speculations.”

  12. Hollow Boy,
    The controversy over Ornery the rooster on North Baker Street was the origin of the city’s use of decibel meters to enforce the noise ordinance. The police bought meters and went to North Baker at 4 am and used them to gather evidence. The owner of the rooster was cited and the case went to court. I reported the story for Kay Peasslee’s Observer and I was in the courtroom that day. It was amazing to witness. The judge let the rooster off because he said that the meters had only been calibrated but not calibrated and tested and that they may have been calibrated to an incorrect standard. The meters had calibration certificates from the factory. If I calibrate a piece of equipment in the lab I work in, it better be correct. As far as I am concerned calibration means that it is done to the correct standard. Something stunk and I think I know what it was but it doesn’t really matter now. Eventually the rooster died. The death was a little mysterious but an autopsy was not performed. I do know that the neghbor who complained was almost “roostercidal” with frustration.
    As far as I know, unless there’s been a change, the only farm animals specifically “outlawed” in the city are hogs. They stink TOO much. For a long time there was a farm behind Meade Park with cows and there have been horses around town as well.
    Cordially,
    Kevin Cox

  13. Goats are like anything else. If you don’t keep their area clean, it stinks. Ever had a next-door neighbor with a bunch of dogs in their yard, who didn’t clean it up? That’ll ruin your BBQ on a warm day!

    Hogs are different because of their size, and the amazing pungency of their feces, even in small amounts.

    Like I said, it should depend on the size of your lot. if it’s big enough, and your neighbors don’t mind, then goats should be allowed.

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