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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Urban chickens in Columbus, Ohio

We have finally gotten our chickens!

chickens in run

I mentioned back in September that we were looking into getting chickens, and seven months later, we've finally gotten them.

Here's how we got chickens within the city limits of Columbus, Ohio:

Read up on chickens, coops, and mention to the neighbors that you're thinking of getting chickens. Ours were fine with us getting them, which came in handy later. Also read the city health code, section 221.05.

Build a coop. Ours is better insulated than our house and painted a bright, bright green. It also has a run that is just about as predator-proof as we can make it (we have coyotes, raccoons, and hawks, as well as dogs). It took Jeff a long time to build and it's not perfect, but it's the Waldorf Astoria to chickens!

Next, call (614-645-6748) or email Dr. Messer at the City of Columbus Health Department. You will need to schedule an appointment to have your coop inspected and your house's environment evaluated. Be persistent if you don't get an answer right away. Dr. Messer only has one person to help him with all of the veterinary health-related issues for the entire city. It may take him a while, but he will answer you.

Our house is really close to our neighbors so that isn't necessarily a negative for you during the inspection. It did help that we have a fence. The inspector took pictures of the coop and our yard. I also had to answer questions to show that I knew about chickens and how to care for them.

Next, the letters went out to our neighbors: two to the south, one to the north, and one to the west across the alley. One neighbor we hadn't talked to had some concerns but was reassured when he heard we were only getting a few chickens and the coop would be much closer to our house than his.

Then we got our conditional permit. Yay!

That's when we got chickens. Rather than get chicks from a hatchery, which was an option, we decided to get young laying hens instead. We don't have space to raise chicks inside for the first month or two, so the hens were a better option for us.

I found our chickens through the BackYard Chickens Forum. We originally wanted Buckeyes, but no hens were available. Instead, we got an easter-egger, and three mixed breeds. Their names are Nugget, Noodle, Fricassee, and Dumpling.

Then I had to take them to the vet's for an inspection. It can be hard to find a vet that sees chickens, but our regular vet at Animal Care Unlimited sees them. I fashioned a carrier for them out of a Rubbermaid container, some chicken wire, and bungie cords.

They passed their inspection and I got their health certificates.

I also had to write up a care plan and a waste management plan. Be specific. I divided mine into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

The next step, which I still have yet to do, is to send the health certificates, the care plan, and the waste plan back to Dr. Messer.

What happens after that, I don't know. I'll update this post when I do!


See more chicken info here (older) and here (most recent).

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Blogger Carrie Lofty said...

That's relatively insane considering that any ole' dipshit can run a disgusting, cruel puppy mill. Glad you're finally making your way through the system!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Deneen said...

Congrats! I have two friends who have chickens, one loved them and the other, well his wife does them and it's a PITA for her (3 kids). My friend who loved them passed away suddenly in January and his family asked me if I wanted them-but the work involved was too much for me in the winter (he had a lot of them) and in the end, they decided to keep them and his son is trying to take care of them.

I will say, the eggs were the best I ever had-you don't realize the difference.

Good luck and glad you posted.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Jen (ChickenLover) said...

I am glad you were approved to get your hens and your coop looks great! I'm with Carrie though. That's a lot of hoops to jump through just to have some chickens - Not that they aren't totally worth it, but I think what your city put you through was a little over the top! I'm glad not all cities cause all that trouble. Good Luck with your hens!

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Angi said...

Thanks for this informative post! I have been considering getting chickens for a while now and, as a recent transplant to Columbus, I have been wondering what exactly the process would be like.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous DKM said...

Can't wait to hear all of the chicken stories!

10:40 PM  
Blogger elaines630 said...

That's so awesome. My best friend's family had a couple of chickens growing up. They were like regular pets!! I can't wait to live somewhere that I can have chickens!

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Thank you for the very informative story. My wife, our 3 yr. old son and I are looking into getting chickens. A few questions: Do you know if you have to build the coop before the inspector will issue permission or would they accept a set of plans? Would you be willing to post your care plan and waste management plan so that others can learn from them? And I've read about others who use heat lamps in the winter (which some of my rural friends would laugh at), do you know if this is necessary to keep the birds healthy & happy in a small coop setting? Many thanks.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to hearing about your new chickens too. I also live in the City limits of Columbus and wondered. I had talked to 2Silos about it and they were very positive so now, with your info, I know a bit more about it. Thanks.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. I live in Columbus too and love your coop. The color is cute too.

Please let me know where you got the blueprint or idea for the coop. I want something just like that...and is that a real window?


5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted the last comment and wanted more information if you don't mind passing it along.


5:34 PM  
Blogger Zach said...

So how much did it cost you to get your permit and for the heath inspection? Did it cost to have them come out to inspect your stuff? Please reply to my blog as that I do not know when i will read this post again.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

We are getting chickens in the spring and have been doing research on coop designs. We really like your and were wondering if you would be willing to send us your plans?


1:17 PM  

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