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ASK A COP: Can I raise chicks in my backyard?

ASK A COP: Can I raise chicks in my backyard?

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Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers. Send questions for consideration to or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.

Q. Can you have farm animals in town? I’m thinking about buying some chicks and raising them in my backyard.

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Cpl. Krisa Brass

A. This topic was covered last spring but with the influx of similar questions, it’s probably time for a refresher. As it currently stands, yes, you can have chickens (and even ducks) within the city limits. When it comes to birds, city ordinance prohibits the captivity of “wild” birds which specifically includes; crows, game birds, and upland game birds. There are a few ordinances you should be aware of if you plan on having chickens on your property.

Scottsbluff City Ordinance 2-2-1 references animals running at large. Stating no person owning or having in charge any horse, goat, mule, ass, cattle, sheep, swine, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowls or other domestic fowl, shall permit the same to run at large within the city. Any animal found running at large is declared a nuisance and may be impounded.

Also be mindful of the cleanliness of the area in which you keep the chickens by keeping the area washed sufficiently to prevent all avoidable accumulation of manure and minimize possible odors. If the area is not maintained and the odor is not controlled, this too could be considered a nuisance.

The last bit regarding chickens would be the probability of noise. Regardless of the animal type, city ordinance says an animal can be declared a nuisance if continually causing noise and disturbing the peace of the neighborhood.

Regarding the pigs, you are allowed to have mini-pigs. Mini-pigs fall under the domestic animal definition and do come with some requirements, like they must be spayed or neutered within 30 days of turning six months old.

Although the “at large” ordinance references horses, goats, mules, cattle, sheep, swine, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl, zoning ordinances haven’t allowed for the ownership of those animals for quite some time.

The zoning ordinances specify for non-business recreation, the amount of livestock allowed on lots, acres, etc. in addition to the location of the animal’s shelter and how the property should be maintained.

Q. How many pets can I have in my home?

A. Without obtaining a kennel license, you can have three. This is a combination of three domestic animals; dogs, cats, and/or mini-pigs. Mini-pigs that are seven months of age or older and dogs/cats that are four months of age or older are required to have a city license tag.

City license tags can be purchased at the Panhandle Humane Society or at participating veterinary clinics. A proof of Rabies vaccination is required prior to issuance of the license.

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