|Up close and personal.|
Backyard chickens came under fire a few years ago, when the Tacoma City Council was considering a ban on all domestic poultry in the city (if you're interested in catching up on the details of that, there's a very informative blog that followed the whole ordeal, starting back in 2006: Up to Our Wattles).
Our feathery friends made the cut, though, and Tacoma residents have kept the right to own hens within city limits (no roosters, though!).
Besides acquainting oneself with the legal code, it's important to maintain friendly relationships with our neighbors - it might be a good idea to talk to yours if you're planning on acquiring a flock.
Here's the breakdown of Tacoma's Municipal Code regarding Domestic Fowl (Chapter 5.30):
5.30.010 Keeping – Prohibited places.
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep chickens, geese, ducks, pigeons or other domestic fowl in any chicken house or building within a distance of 50 feet from the nearest portion of any residence, dwelling, hotel, apartment house or rooming house in the City of Tacoma; and the keeping of chickens, geese, ducks, pigeons or other domestic fowl as aforesaid is hereby declared to be a public nuisance; provided that this chapter shall not apply in areas in which abattoirs or stockyards are permitted by appropriate ordinances.
(Ord. 22212 § 17; passed Sept. 30, 1980: Ord. 16586 § 1; passed Jun. 14, 1960)
Nonetheless, your chicken run can be closer than 50 feet to your neighbor's residence, provided that your neighbor consents in writing and that this agreement is provided to the City Clerk (Municipal Code: 5.30.030: Exception under consent of surrounding owners). It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with general Animal Control codes.
Roosters are prohibited within Tacoma city limits (Municipal Code: 17.02.041). If you're planning on getting your birds as chicks, try to buy sexed ones. GardenSphere, located on N. Proctor in Tacoma, is a great place to acquire sexed chicks (when chicks are available). They also sell pullets and hens, so if you're nervous about ending up with a rooster in your batch of chicks, you might think about getting a pullet.
As always, it's important to ask questions...so if you're unsure about the municipal code, contact the City of Tacoma.
- Tacoma News Tribune: "What you need to know to raise your own city flock"
- Tacoma Municipal Code: City Fowl