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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10, 2012

Local regulations may ban backyard chicken coops

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Vital Farms eggs photo
Ashley Landis
Vital Farms owner Jason Jones holds a free range hen near a mobile chicken unit at Vital Farms in South Austin on Oct. 30.

By Clark Howard

Chickn coops at people's homes are becoming a big trend in America.

Of things I'd want to own at my home, chickens don't make the list! They're messy, they're smelly, and they're labor intensive.

But a lot of people think owning them represents a real deal for farm-fresh eggs. The problem is, as The Arizona Republic  reports, many jurisdictions don't allow it. Some jurisdictions will allow a small number of chickens, like 4 or 6, but others will not at all.

Our neighbor has chickens. And let me tell you, I don't live in the country. I live in the middle of the city. They want to have 'em? Go at it. It's legal where we are.

But it may not be where you are. So before you get too excited and buy your own coops, check the local regulations in your town.

This couple profiled in the newspaper article got 4 hens and now they're facing criminal charges. Many times it's just fines. But criminal charges? That's no fun at all.

You know the thing about "know before your dig"? I say "know before you have your own chickens" because they can hatch you some big-time trouble.

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