Baltidome Blog | Baltimore Green News

Chicken Keeping in Baltimore City

Raising Chickens In Baltimore City

ChickensThere is an increasing interest in chicken keeping in Baltimore.  To help would-be city chicken keepers, below are some basic do’s and don’t, rules for chicken keeping from the Baltimore City Health Department and a video to give you a visual of an urban chicken farmer.

Why Keep Chickens?

Eggs are a great source of fresh homegrown food.  Fresh backyard eggs are likely to be the best you have ever tasted. Chickens also provide great fertilizer, they eat pesky insects and are relatively easy animals to maintain.  In addition to being a great resource for sustainable living, chickens are great companions and generally gentle pets.

Baltimore City Rules For Chicken Keeping
Authority:  Baltimore City Health Code, Title 2, § 2-106; Title 10, Subtitles 1 and 3.

1. No person may own, keep, or harbor any chickens without:
a. obtaining a permit from the Bureau of Animal Control; and
b. registering with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Domestic Poultry and
Exotic Bird Registration Division
2.  No more than 4 chickens over the age of 1 month may be kept.
3.  All chickens must be confined at all times to a movable pen.
a. No pen may be closer than 25 feet to any residence.
b. Each pen must be kept clean, free of all odors and materials that can attract
c. Each pen must be moved frequently to minimize turf destruction and the build up
of manure borne pathogens such as coccidiosis and roundworms.
d. Pens with feed boxes and nest boxes must allow 2 square feet per hen.
4.  The chickens must be provided with shade during warm weather.
5.  Potable water and proper feed must be made available.
6. All chickens must be provided with access to a well-constructed shelter that provides
suitable protection from inclement weather.
7. All chickens must be afforded veterinary care if they are known or suspected to be sick or injured.
8.  Roosters Are Prohibited

Things To Consider Before Purchasing Chickens

You are not permitted to keep roosters in Baltimore City.  The absence of a feathery morning alarm clock may ease neighbor’s concerns about noise.   However, without a rooster, your chickens will produce eggs, but the eggs will be infertile.  Chickens produce eggs regularly and “discard” them in the same way that women ovulate, but infertile eggs will not hatch chicks.  So, abandon any dreams (or fears) of a chicken hatchery.

Chickens will make some clucking noises from time to time and their pens will smell if they are not cleaned regularly.  It will likely be impossible to keep your chickens a secret from your neighbors, so bribe neighbors with fresh eggs and reassure them about the noise and smell.

Like all pets, chickens will require shelter, health care and you will have to care for them every day, no matter how busy you are.  Make sure you have a neighbor who is willing to help out when you are away.  In addition, you may want to contact the Herring Run Watershed Center.  They have had a few classes on chicken farming and they may be able to connect you with fellow chicken farmers in Baltimore.

Being an urban chicken farmer requires you to keep your pens especially tidy.  The general rule of thumb with city chicken keeping is, “If you can smell it, your neighbors can too”.  To ensure cleanliness, your coops will require constant attention.  Also, the chickens must be properly contained.  Nothing will anger your neighbors faster that a chicken climbing on their new car -and YES, they can fly.

15 Comments so far
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This is something where alot of people make a mistake at.They don’t check with there city rules and regulations toward raising chickens. Most cities do allow you to keep chickens, put there are rules to follow.

Comment by Building Chicken Coops

Where do I find chicken feed in Baltimore?

Thank you!

Comment by Brian

[…] So, you have a friend in the country with chickens. Or, you read an article online about people in Brooklyn raising chickens on a rooftop. Or maybe you opened up the new Williams-Sonoma Agrarian catalog and thought…I want chickens! Then you start to wonder if they’re even allowed where you live. Well, if you live in Baltimore City, here’s some advice from someone who’s recently jumped into city chicken keeping. First, this article from Earth 911 asks some key questions to see if chicken keeping is for you. If you live in Charm City,  here are the basics: […]

Pingback by Backyard Chickens in Charm City | Charm City Cook

This web site truly has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

Comment by Maryland Millionaires bitch

I’d like to suggest that people adopt laying hens who are about to be slaughtered. They still lay eggs, it’s just that they are not as productive as before. If you purchase hens, you are requiring their brothers (the “useless” male chicks) to be destroyed, oftentimes by being tossed into a grinder while fully conscious.

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Comment by Whitney

I have eaten laid the on the same day as i ate them eggs twice. WOW!!!!! Makes me wonder what the things we buy in stores are and how old they are. Btw, eggs do not need to be refrigerated (even store bought eggs), they last two or three weeks at room temperature and they taste better.

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Comment by få bonus utan insättning

Howl in Hampden carries chicken feed, in crumbles and pellets, 50 lb and 25 lb bags. I know they have Extra Layer and Organic and just started carrying a corn & soy free variety.

Comment by Backyard Farmer

I have one chicken ( her name is bitchey ) left after something got into the coop in west va where our farm is . l want to bring her to my yard here in Baltimore , thanks for all info . IN REPLY. I couldnt eat bitchey , she still lays eggs , older hens will sometimes have dots of blood in egg ,yes they are safe . l wash my eggs in HOT soap water pat dry then dunk them in thick cooking oil , helps preserve them ( mine 3 months ) kiddie pools are great for them in summer put 2 bricks in middle . take a warm rag to wipe their heads & feet off you can even rub coconut oil on crown ,n, feet to avoid flaking ,,,, ENJOY ,,,,,, Bitchey is so cool her and dog Ada walk around the yard together, odd friends

Comment by Kelley k

[…] If you live in Charm City, here is an article from Baltimore Magazine – it gives the basic info about Baltimore’s chicken keeping rules and regs. Here are the basics: […]

Pingback by Raising Chickens in Baltimore: Is It for You? - Charm City Cook

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