If you’re a Boise resident and interested in having chickens in your backyard, or if you want to know if your neighbor has the right to add a rooster as a permanent addition to their growing brood–you may have some questions about the rules and regulations concerning fowl within the city.
Is it legal to own farm animals in the city and what are your rights as a homeowner?
As a homeowner, you can have up to six hens within the Boise City limits and no roosters. There is no permit required and there are currently no coop restrictions. If you have an acre or more there are different rules. Like anything else, it’s critical to review your local homeowner’s association information, along with up-to-the-minute city and county ordinances before embarking on the raising of livestock or poultry. It’s important to note that while the city has its ordinances, most current HOA’s have restrictions in place regarding fowl (with a majority of HOA’s stating no fowl of any kind are allowed on premises).
Sustainable farming is catching on and with it the growing movement of smaller-level city farming. Keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard has many benefits, from supplying you with fresh, healthy eggs from well-cared-for animals, to giving you great fertilizer for gardening, to providing lively pets—as well as being part of the shift to local food sourcing systems.
Why raise your own chickens?
Backyard eggs are generally more nutritious than industry-sourced eggs, with pasture-raised eggs containing two to three times more omega-3 fatty acids and one-third the cholesterol of factory-farmed eggs. With certified organic chicken feed available, you can keep your chickens healthy while supporting sustainable farming.
Chickens also serve as great composters for your kitchen scraps. You can then add the chicken’s waste to your compost pile and use it on your garden as a fertilizer. In addition, chickens will happily pluck up any unwanted insects and pests in your yard. Most families who raise chickens also report that it’s an excellent way to teach children responsibility with many rewards and that chickens can be fun and friendly family pets with great personalities.
Local farm and pet stores are a great place to get started. Zamzows and D&B Supply carry chicks for purchase, along with organic feed and coop options. They also offer seasonal classes to learn about how to raise chickens in the city, or check out these YouTube videos by D&B with local author and backyard hen expert, Gretchen Anderson: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens.
Zamzows suggests the following breeds as being the most successful in our climate:
Barred Plymouth Rock is a chicken that originated in the United States. It is a cold, hearty bird that does well in your backyard flock.
Rhode Island Red is a breed of utility birds raised for showing, egg laying, and meat. The Reds are docile, friendly birds that make good pets and are excellent brown egg producers.
Black and Golden Sex Links are very high producing breeds, laying approximately 300 brown eggs per year.
Buff Orpington are hearty birds not bothered by the weather. They are bred to have excellent meat and be prolific egg layers. They lay approximately 200 brown eggs per year.
Although there are many positives to raising hens in the city, there are other factors to take into consideration. You may attract other animals onto your property that are predators to hens, including raccoons. If you have other family pets, you’ll want to make sure the hens are safely secured from them as well.
Regulation of city ordinances:
If you are a neighbor to someone who has more hens than allowed by city code or if a rooster is waking you up at the crack of dawn, your first course of action is to bring this to the attention of the homeowner. If the situation is not remedied, you can call the Idaho Humane Society’s Animal Care and Control department at 208.343.3166.
Are you looking for a city-acre farm in Boise? We’re always here to help you with your real estate questions and are happy to assist you in locating the perfect venue for your farming, gardening, and animal adventures.