The City of Charlottesville allows them; the County of Albemarle neither allows nor disallows them (my personal preference).
I noted this for the first time in 2009, when the City of Charlottesville codified their allowance of chickens. The street on which the subject of the above story lives has some wooded lots ranging from .3 to .5 acres – probably plenty of room for a couple chickens to peacefully coexist with the neighbors.
I haven’t been around chickens consistently since I was a child enough to know whether they smell – do they?
From a real estate perspective, I’d say about 10% of my clients ask about keeping chickens in their backyards – a notable increase over the past several years.
A twist for homeowners’ associations: I’d wager that most of the HOAs in the Charlottesville area have similar language to this, copied from the HOA docs of a local neighborhood:
“No animals, livestock or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred, or kept on any portion of – except that dogs, cats, or other usual and common household pets, may be permitted in a Lot.”
Good luck finding a newer home in a neighborhood in Charlottesville that lacks an HOA. (Some HOAs grant right to trespass and tell you to clean up your yard )
– Coop de grass: Charlottesville eggsellent adventure (The HooK – 2010)
– Tour de Coop, 1st Annual – by CLUCK & C’Ville Community Bikes – 2011
As with most things, whether or not chickens and their coops smell good or bad depends on the humans who own them. I do a major hen house cleaning once a year, and spot-clean fairly regularly for a dozen backyard chickens in 2 coops in Fluvanna County. Still, every once in awhile, like on a hot August afternoon, when I go to let the hens out or to gather eggs, I’ll catch a whiff and realize that the chicken house or yard needs some additional attention! But even then, I can’t smell anything bad from the house (the chicken yards are 75-100′ from the house), and even if I had neighbors living close by (I have 4 acres, so neighbors aren’t that close), I doubt that they’d have anything to complain about smell-wise. Noise-wise, I definitely get why people living in close proximity would not want roosters in the neighborhood. We have one rooster, and while he’s beautiful to look at & does a marvelous job of protecting the hens from danger, he crows off and on from dawn (4 a.m.) to dusk (7 p.m.). I’m just lucky that most of my neighbors understand, because either they also have roosters… or I’ve paid them off in free eggs to ignore the annoying bugger!
Thanks for the great comment. I particularly approve of the “paying off the neighbors with eggs” part. 🙂