Chicken-keeping in Austin is not only allowed, but encouraged. So much so, in fact, that Austin residents can be rebated $75 for adding a chicken coop to their backyard.


Austin Resource Recovery will virtually host a free chicken-keeping class at 6 p.m. Oct. 22. The event will teach Austin residents how to raise chickens and how to qualify for the $75 rebate on their utility bill.

The rebate also applies to residents with home composting systems. Such a system functions similarly to chickens, which are known to eat scraps, potentially reducing food waste going to the landfill, according to the city. Here is how you qualify for the rebate:

  1. Decide to compost at home or keep chickens
  2. Take a free online home composting or chicken-keeping class
  3. Purchase a home composting system or chicken coop from a vendor of your choosing. Keep the receipt.
  4. Submit a rebate application form.
  5. Receive the rebate by mail in approximately eight weeks

The average chicken eats seven pounds of food per month, so they won't tire from eating your food waste. Chicken droppings can also double as compost for lawns and gardens, furthering their benefit.

Chicken coops are available at plenty of Austin-area retailers, including Callahan's General Store near the airport and Texas Backyard Farming in Dripping Springs. Callahan's also sells baby chicks every Thursday morning on a first-come, first-served basis

As chicken-keeping grows more popular in Austin, so, too, have 3-1-1 complaints to the city's code enforcement department. Since 2015, there have been a combined 297 chicken-related complaints lodged, according to city records.

Based on annualized data, chicken-related complaints—mostly regarding coops—peaked in 2018, dropping drastically last year. So far this year, there have been 56 chicken-related complaints submitted to 3-1-1, according to Austin records.

Here is a breakdown per year:

  • 2015: 9 complaints
  • 2016: 59 complaints
  • 2017: 60 complaints
  • 2018: 80 complaints
  • 2019: 33 complaints
  • 2020 (as of October): 56 complaints

Most of these complaints were filed under "public health" and "environmental services" classifications. Only once, in 2015, does the city have a documented instance of a loose chicken complaint. Appropriately, the complaint was filed under "Loose animal-not a dog."

To obtain free tickets for the chicken-keeping class, visit the city website, or learn more about the rebate program here.

(Anna Moneymaker/Pool via REUTERS)

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