Proposed law would allow Texas residents in houses to own up to six chickens or domestic fowl

Photo of Vincent T. Davis
Chickens rest at Gardopia Gardens, an urban farm on the East Side, on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

Chickens rest at Gardopia Gardens, an urban farm on the East Side, on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

Billy Calzada / Staff photographer

Some Texas legislators have been brooding over the egg shortage and are ready to take a crack at it.

The solution? Fewer restrictions on backyard chickens.

Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, and Rep. Philip Cortez, D-San Antonio, filed bills that would prevent cities and homeowners associations from restricting people in houses from having six or fewer chickens or domestic fowl. Cain’s bill, House Bill 1191, is dubbed the Chicken Freedom Act.

On Egg prices reignite desire for backyard chicken operations

A similar bill failed in the last legislative session, but rising egg prices have renewed interest.

Still, San Antonio residents likely wouldn’t be affected if one of the bills passed unless they have restrictions under their HOA.

Each municipality in Texas sets the number of domestic fowl a family may keep on their property. According to the City of San Antonio’s animal ordinance, eight domestic fowl, including one rooster, are allowed at a local residence. Domestic fowl must be housed in a coop and run that is 24 square feet or features 6 feet of space for each fowl, whichever is bigger.

According to an AgriLife Today report, egg prices could keep climbing. AgriLife Extension economist, Ph.D., David Anderson, said the worst avian flu outbreak in the nation and inflation have contributed to soaring egg prices.

Nearly 43 million egg-laying hens died in December, according to the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. That month, a dozen eggs cost $4.25; the year before, the price was $1.79.