Can Chickens Be Emotional Support Animals?

Individuals with a qualified mental health condition can get an ESA letter from their licensed mental health professionals to request reasonable accommodation for their pet. While most people think of cats and dogs as emotional support animals, others may find comfort in other animals, such as chickens.

If you’ve wondered if chickens can be emotional support animals, the short answer is yes. Any animal you can legally keep can be your emotional support animal.

However, there’s more to chickens as an emotional support animal. Our article will provide you with everything about chickens as emotional support animals.

kid hugging chicken
Source: Shutterstock

Can I have a Chicken as an ESA?

Yes. Chickens can become emotional support animals, but it’s more complicated than a simple yes. To have an emotional support chicken, you must be legally allowed to keep chickens. If you’re living in a rural area, this shouldn’t be a problem.

On the other hand, city dwellers should check their city code before installing a small chicken coop in the backyard.

Restrictions for Having an Emotional Support Chicken

Only some cities allow keeping chickens in the backyard or even indoors, and these cities typically only allow hens. Before getting a chicken, check if your city permits backyard chickens. For example, Philadelphia has a city ordinance against having chickens. Residents can’t keep chickens in their backyard or indoors.

That said, you can’t have an emotional support chicken in Philadelphia, as keeping them in a residential property is illegal.

While it’s a big no for Philadelphia, your city may be fine keeping chickens. You can have emotional support chicken in cities like Houston and Seattle. However, it’s also important to note that cities that allow chickens may have specific rules about where you can keep them.

Detroit, for example, allows keeping chickens as long as their enclosure is 30 feet away from a neighbor’s home and five feet away from side property lines.

Some cities don’t enforce these rules strictly and look the other way to those who have backyard chickens. However, this doesn’t mean you can have an emotional support chicken in a city that doesn’t allow chickens.

Your emotional support animal’s type must be stated in your ESA letter. You can’t use it to request reasonable accommodation in a city that doesn’t allow chickens. However, this won’t make your ESA letter invalid. You can use it in other cities that allow keeping chickens.

How to Get an ESA Letter for My Chicken?

To get an ESA letter, you’ll first need to speak with a licensed mental health professional. ESA letters prescribe you an animal to relieve your symptoms. It’s ultimately up to your therapist, psychiatrist, etc., to determine whether you need an ESA.

Therefore, it’s critical to be honest about your symptoms. If you feel comforted by the presence of your chicken, it’s an excellent way to start the conversation about having an ESA with your therapist.

Once your LMHP decides you should have an emotional support animal, they will write you an ESA letter with basic information about your chicken(s) and condition. You can then use this letter to request reasonable accommodation.

However, it’s best not to plan quickly, thinking you’ll get an ESA letter immediately. Although a simple process, getting an ESA letter may take more than one visit to an LMHP. You can also go through this process with an online service that issues ESA letters electronically.

Do Chickens Make Good ESAs?

Chickens can be excellent emotional support animals provided the right conditions. Unlike cats and dogs, you can’t house-train chickens, and they won’t live happily indoors. If you have a spacious backyard and a sizable coop, chickens can live thriving lives as emotional support animals.

Also, chickens are social animals that live in flocks. Keeping a single chicken in your backyard isn’t ideal, as they require social connections to live a fulfilling life. Keeping multiple chickens should be fine since you can have more than one ESA. While two is ideal, three or more is better for their social needs.

When all these conditions are set, chickens can be great emotional support animals that bond strongly with their people. Check if your city allows keeping chickens to determine whether or not you can have chickens as emotional support animals.

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