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"Can I have backyard chickens in the city limits of Big Spring, TX. If so how many can I have,"

by Pat on 11/08/18

Regarding backyard chicken ordinances in Big Spring Texas:

Since municipal governments can alter their ordinances whenever they wish, we refer any questions to them. Try going to your city website for a list of city officials.
Back yard chicken culture has become a significant issue in almost every community in the country. Some towns hate the very idea of a chicken in somebody's back yard (ew!).
Other municipalities allow as many as you want.
Some limit how many, of which gender, and at what distance from a home or neighbor's yard.
Since these towns have to elect new leaders from time to time, they may blow here and there with every election.
Try city hall. 
If Animal Control doesn't have the information, try Code Enforcement


by Pat on 11/17/16

1. Chickens are allowed in this location. Max 12-50 depending on size of lot your home located. There's no permit required.
2. The coop restrictions is 50 feet from neighbors.
3. The roosters are allowed as well. The maximum is 2.
4. The City/Organization Contact-
Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas Code Officer: East District Location: 818 Missouri
 Avenue Supervisor: Mike Camp Phone: 817-995-1297

How important is it to provide new grass for your chickens?

by Pat on 08/20/16

It is important to always let your chickens graze in new grass - especially laying hens. 
Free-range eggs have a higher value. They supply better nutrition, and the hens themselves are healthier
than the birds caged and fed a steady commercial diet.

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has compiled nutrient data, comparing commercial eggs and
 free-range eggs.  The findings showed that free-range chicken eggs produced the following results:
    • 1/3 less cholesterol
    • 1/4 less saturated fat
    • 2/3 more vitamin A
    • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
    • 3 times more vitamin E
    • 7 times more beta-carotene

Besides the obvious nutritional benefits, most people find that free-range eggs simply taste better than the not-so-free-range eggs!

This is why we put effort into creating our "EASILY MOVED TO NEW GRASS TOW-ROPE SET."  

All of our coops are moveable. Towing is better than lifting! Our experience shows that how often one moves
a coop to new grass depends on how easy it is to move! Wheels work fine in the beginning (on flat, dry ground)
but very soon get stuck, go flat, or bog down on anything possible (leaves, sticks, rocks, mud, cracks, crevices, old shoes...) . 
Most leave a gap between the base of the coop and the ground - creating the risk of predator intrusion.
We find our Tow-Rope Set to be quite sufficient. It includes a rope with a comfortable handle, and on newly made coops we add
a skid-like corner on the other end of the coop - so that even my wife, Jennifer, can easily tow the coop to new grass 
whenever she likes! ( Jennifer has problems with both of her knees...)  

This is important for your back yard, too. If you frequently move your coop to a new spot, it helps the grass grow back 
sooner on the old spot. 

QUESTION: What do I need to do to keep my chickens warm in winter?

by Pat on 11/14/14

Answer: There are a lot of variables to consider. I will try to keep it simple.
Chickens were originally derived thousands of years ago from the Red Junglefowl, their ancestors from Southeast Asia, and were later bred for hardiness. Some were bred to thrive in warm climates, while some have been developed to survive the coldest winters. Most common backyard chickens (the dual-purpose breeds) are fine down to very low temperatures, as long as they are not subjected to wind, wet, and cold - simultaneously. They can stand wind. They can tolerate wet. They don't mind cold. Combine two of these, and they may have a problem.
Eliminate two of them, and they should be fine.                                                                                                                                            
Feather-footed birds have an advantage in cold climates, since the feathering acts as a leg insulator. Birds with thick feathering are also cold-hardy.
Feeding your flock some scratch  in the morning and evening (not too much!) will help them generate enough heat to make it through the critical times. This is in addition to their normal rations.
Keep the coop floor covered with several inches of a suitable dry, fluffy bedding material. Pine shavings are okay (don't listen to the scare-mongers about this), or any quality bedding which doesn't soak up too much water. Keep it dry. Replace it when it gets too damp. You should have a composting area to break down this material, and use it in the garden, when spring comes around.
Prevent drafts, but do allow decent circulation. If possible, keep  the vents as far from the chickens as possible. Blocking all ventilation will cause ammonia build-up, which will kill chickens faster than cold!
Hang "heat lamps" above the roosts. We just use incandescent bulbs - not infrared or heating bulbs, which may become extremely hot. Be sure they are protected from contact with  the chickens or combustibles - like the bedding material. We tie ours so that they cannot be knocked down. You can use mug hooks, which are sturdier than cup hooks, but remember to add an insulated piece of wire, or thick rubber band, to hold it firmly in place.
YouTube videos
There are some great YouTube videos on various DIY projects for backyard chicken enthusiasts. I love the various home-made chicken feeders and waterers - especially the heated waterers.
If you have trouble finding poultry nipples, I have a few and can order more, if you need them.

QUESTION: How do I handle a hypothermic or frostbitten chicken?

by Pat on 11/14/14

ANSWER: The rare problems we have ever encountered during very cold winters are: 
        a. very minor frostbite on toes and/or combs
                 b. deeply chilled young chickens
The conditions were not ideal in each of these situations. The frostbite occurred with birds which had evaded the coop and had spent the night outdoors on a very cold, windy night. Two roosters lost some comb tips, which never seemed to bother them much. One hen lost a toe. That didn't slow her down at all.
The chilled youngsters had gotten wet, and then the temperature had dropped. We had not noticed them, and in the morning, some had died. They had been confined for a few days in a coop with inadequate ventilation, accumulating a lot of condensation.
The survivors were almost lifeless, weak and unable to move. They were revived by gradual and gentle warmth, towel drying and sugar water to stimulate their metabolism. We initially used a hair dryer, set on low, and moved around constantly. This helped fluff their feathers and dry them out. We then moved them under an incandescent bulb in a brooder to finish the process. The sugar water was given by dropper, as they initially had difficulty drinking. In a couple of hours, they were up and demanding food!
Reviving birds which have gone down is often a race to do several things at once. It helps if there are two people...one to hold the bird and use towels, etc., and one to hold a hair dryer or other gentle warming device, and to get sugar water ready to administer. Keep the hair dryer on the low setting, and far enough away to prevent burning. I just keep it moving, and constantly feel the feathering to be sure it isn't getting too hot.
Be careful not to drown the weak bird while trying to get sugar water into her. I watch for swallowing, and immediately rotate her after each dropperful, so that the excess drains out, while blotting with the towel. If she cannot swallow at all, the chances of saving her are not too good. Just keep up the warming, and massage her while using the towel to blot any remaining moisture from her feathers. I don't give up unless she goes completely still and lifeless for several minutes. The neck will no longer support her head at that point, and then I stop trying to resuscitate.

What's the best chicken to keep in a coop?

by Pat on 02/28/14

The answer depends on a few things.

First of all, there are some breeds which don't like coops at all. These are the tree-loving high-roosting breeds. Typically lighter weight, slimmer birds, which seek the top of the barn, or any roost far above any ground-hugging predators.

Chickens raised for meat are comfotable just hanging around in their coop. They are not foragers, and gain weight faster if they aren't running around getting tough.

Egg layers are almost all bred for characteristics which lend to adaptability. They can easily thrive, either in or out of coops, but do best if protected when they are most vulnerable - at night. They do best if allowed to range, scratch, dust/sun bathe, and forage during part of the day.

The breeds we find best suited to most environments are: Ameracaunas, (buff) Orpingtons, Plymouth rocks (we like the barred rocks), and Wyandottes of any type. We have found Rhode Island Reds to be more aggressive than many other breeds, and don't recommend them for families with kids.

Should I buy a fir-wood chicken coop from Ebay?

by Pat on 11/16/13

This article reviews the 'pros' and 'cons' on the inexpensive timber (fir-wood) chicken coops that are commonly available on Ebay and are imported from China. Read feedback from other purchasers of these chicken coops before deciding if this type of coop is for you.

Please click this link below to read the article:


How durable are these Texas made chicken coops ???

by Pat on 11/16/13

1. In constructing your coop, we use only screws, rather than the less expensive nails or air-brads. From the best lumber to the exterior deck screws and galvanized wire, we select long-lasting, quality hardware.

2. The stains we use are high quality, and indicate a "re-stain" period of about four years. Since the cedar roofs don't deteriorate quickly, even without a stain, we aren't sure about that, either. They will get gray, though. There is a renewing solution for graying cedar. We haven't tried it, but we may, just as an experiment. Our stains are available at Lowes and Walmart.

3. Recently, a customer needed to borrow one of our older much-used coops while we made a new one for him. When he returned the coop, he had power-washed it. This poor old coop went out looking its age, but when it came back, it looked like almost like a new one!

4. Because most of the parts are screwed on, they can be easily replaced, should they become damaged.


Fence posts and flying chickens

by Pat on 09/29/13


 I was just wondering if you have had any problems with chickens flying out of the portable fence?

 I have a coop and would like to have a fenced area for my chickens but I just don't know if they would fly over this fence?

  Thank you




Hi Kaitlynn!

 Great question - and one we get asked a lot. Our personal experience is this:

This fencing setup, utilizing 2"x4" mesh wire (in 4' or 5' heights) will restrain adult chickens. If you want to put young chicks, soon after leaving the brooder - and when they are smaller than the 2" width, NO. They can just stroll right through.


When they are in their gawky "teenage" stage, as we like to put it, they are challenged by any enclosure, and will do everything in their power to get over a fence of any sort. This a most perilous time for chickens. They cannot be easily restrained, and are so light in weight that they can easily get over most things (they will sleep in the trees, if unrestrained). Even wing-clipping doesn't keep them down.


When they get into their adult stage, they settle down to earth and get fat and lazy, just hanging around thinking about whether they would rather take a nap, a sun bath, or a dust bath. This can occupy MOST of their day. Thinking about it.

Whichever one they choose, they are still thinking about whether they made the right choice, and plan to do the other things as soon as they get tired of the current one. Aside from scratching, eating or chasing grasshoppers, they don't do have much else on their schedules. Flying just seems like too much effort.


There are fences.

 Fencing just keeps adult chickens from wandering, but won't prevent many predators from climbing over, or digging under, or dropping in from above. 

We would love to make a set of posts for you. This type of fence is also great for separating flocks or small groups from the rest. 

 Thank you for your interest, Kaitlynn.

 Pat and Jennifer



The "chicken laws" for some cites in Texas

by Pat on 09/22/11


Here is some useful info about the laws regarding chicken-keeping in your own back yard.

If you see your city, and notice that the chicken laws are outdated, please help us to update them (by clicking "Comments"). Thank you. 

Arlington, TX. You must have a lot that is larger than a half an acre to lawfully keep hens (no roosters) here. Even so, you may only keep four hens. If you have a lot over 1/2 acre, then you must still keep the chickens 50 ft. away from neighboring houses, and you must keep them penned.

Austin, TX. Up to 10 fowl per household, but keep in enclosure that's 50 ft. away from neighbors. Other soucres say there is currently no limit on the number of chickens you can keep here. The city is considering banning roosters.
Baytown, TX. Chickens allowed, but they have to be 100 ft. from neighbors, and many lots aren’t big enough to meet that requirement.

Dallas TX. The ordinances for this city do not appear to address keeping poultry.

Fort Worth, TX. Can have up to 12 chickens within the city limits on a residentially zoned lot. They have to be in a chicken coop and the coop has to be at least 50 feet away from any house. That includes your own house and any neighbors' houses.

Garland, TX. Limit 2 hens.

Grand Prairie, TX. You have to be able to keep your chickens 150 feet away from any neighboring structures that house people, which is pretty difficult to do on a city or suburb lot.

Houston, TX. Chickens may be kept on a lot which measures at least 65 feet X 125 feet: 30 chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, peafowl, rabbits or guinea pigs or 40 of any combination of the above.

Irving, TX. According to the Parks & Rec department here, "In recognition of changing demographics, we no longer have restrictions on livestock."

Laredo, TX. If you keep 6 or fewer chickens, set-backs are not restricted. If you keep more than 6 chickens, you must keep the pen 100 ft. from any occupied building, besides your own.

Lewisville, TX. Up to five individual fowl per each one-fourth acre of land may be kept upon the premises. Fowl must be kept in a pen or other enclosure located at least 150 feet from any residential dwelling, office building, school building, church, business, or other structure under separate ownership which is intended for human habitation or use. Such pen or enclosure must provide at least 100 square feet of exercise area for each bird kept therein. In order to minimize the potential for noise nuisances to adjacent or nearby premises, roosters capable of crowing shall not be allowed to be kept within 1,500 feet of any residential dwelling, office building, school building, church, business, or other structure under separate ownership which is intended for human habitation or use.

Longview, TX. Ordinance #3141.3, Sec. 13-27: "Regulations relating to keeping of poultry and birds," an unlimited number of chickens may be kept in any structure that has a secure top, sides, and bottom, and provides shelter from rain. This structure must sit 100 feet from any neighboring property.

Mansfield, TX. Your lot must be 20,000 square feet in order to keep chickens.

Murphy, TX. Limit 2 hens.

Plano, TX. Chickens prohibited.

Richardson, TX. Chickens are allowed, barring offensive noises or smells.

Round Rock, TX. Up to 5 fowl if your chicken pen is 25 ft. away from neighbor's residences. If the pen is 50 ft. away, you can have 10 fowl.

San Antonio, TX. Up to 5 of any kind of fowl, any gender, per household. Must keep in a pen, 20 feet from any other dwelling. The laws in this city have been recently updated (2010): Residents now allowed to have up to 3 chickens, any gender, but must remain in an enclosure. Permits may be issued if you want more than 3 chickens.

Sachse, TX. Limit 15 small livestock.

St. Paul. TX. The topic of chickens is not covered in the city ordinance.

Victoria, TX. No person shall keep, feed, raise, or maintain fowl within the city except under the following conditions: Such fowl shall be kept in a pen or enclosure at least one hundred (100) feet from every dwelling other than that of the owner of such fowl. Such enclosure shall be kept sanitary so as to prevent the development of health hazards or offensive. No more than twenty-five (25) poultry may be raised within such enclosure.

Waco, TX. Livestock is allowed inside the City of Waco as long as the pen is located at least 200 feet from the nearest neighbor in a straight line at the closest points.

Wylie, TX. Chickens banned.

Frequently Asked Questions

by Pat on 06/21/11

The single most asked question regarding chickens is: “Do I need a rooster if I want to have eggs?”

ANSWER: No. Hens lay eggs regardless of whether there is a rooster in the flock.


What about if I want to hatch chicks from our hens?

ANSWER: Simple biology. If you want to hatch out your eggs, you will need a rooster to fertilize them.  (Most cities now prohibit roosters in backyard flocks because of the noise from crowing.)


You can buy fertile eggs from a breeder (we sell them), and try to get one of your hens to sit on them, or you could get a small incubator and hatch fertile eggs from that.  Remember that about 50% of your chicks will be roosters. Plan how to deal with that before you end up with noise complaints from neighbors.

What are my options when I end up with roosters?

ANSWER: Soup, adoption, or sale. Many backyard chicken enthusiasts don’t want to eat their unwanted roosters, although they taste better than just about any chicken you will buy at the market. I understand if you don’t wish to eat your “babies”, because I’m in the same boat. I sell most of mine, even if I don’t always get the price I want. It’s better than continuing to spend money on their feed, and it keeps the neighbors on a friendly footing.


Air Raid -the night fighters

by Pat on 03/23/11

From out of the night sky, a single form, darker than the surrounding shadows, glides on stealthy wings, flares briefly, then dives like a WWII night fighter aircraft upon an unwary prey.

Owls are a significant threat to uncovered chicken enclosures. To protect the chickens, we have to keep them fully enclosed at night. Poultry netting can sometimes be purchased at a very good price on Ebay.


Air Raid - the day fighters

by Pat on 03/23/11

In most areas, the Redtail hawk is the biggest aerial threat. Hawks establish a territory, and fight off encroachment from other hawks, particularly of their own species. For that reason, you will only have a pair of them to worry about, which is about two too many. There is little you can do to protect free range poultry, since the federal government protects all birds of prey. You may want to put up poultry netting to cover runs.

It is interesting to observe the flock during a hawk threat. Roosters watch over the flock and sound an alarm when a hawk comes into the area. The air raid alarm sounds a lot like a hysterical hen which has just laid an egg of extreme proportions.

You will see hens and chicks scattering for cover when the rooster raises this alarm. Many older hens, and any other roosters, will relay the alarm. The hawk generally decides to look for less attentive victims.


The Traitor Among Us

by Pat on 03/23/11

There is a fifth columnist which pretends allegiance, but happily bides time, while appearing to be your best friend and ally. This treacherous predator has no conscience in regard to fowls.

The family dog can account for more dead chickens than all the other predators combined. Some can be trusted, but not all. We never allow our beautiful Pyrenees to be alone with the chickens. She has proved to be quite satisfied that chickens were put on earth for her entertainment, and no matter how many times she has been scolded or punished; she will still take any unsupervised opportunity to mangle another one. We love her, but it takes all our patience to keep from hauling her away to the local animal shelter just after she has murdered one of our favorite hens.  

Most barn cats find young chicks an acceptable meal. Some will take pullets, too. Opportunists, poultry must seem little different from rats and mice to them. They generally hunt at night.


New Subject? Enter here :

by Pat on 03/23/11

If you would like to start a new subject, please use the comment button here. Thank you!

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This page was last updated: March 19, 2024

   We are a small family farm in northeast Texas (330  County Road 4849 Winnsboro, Texas. 75494)
We make and sell chicken coops; most of them designed to be shipped nationwide.
We raise chickens, ducks, geese and goats. Handcrafted coops, brooders and portable fence 
posts were a sideline which came into being when neighbors and family wanted ones like those we had made for our flock. They're all sturdy, predator-proof, and  easily WINTERIZED. 
Please enjoy your visit here.    Thanks!                     
Pat & Jennifer Didear
   214-213-1360  903-458-1716
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