When we first got our chickens we had no idea whether it was legal or not. To find out we searched our local municipal code. It turned out that our three chickens are quite legal. This page is intended as an overview of other local laws governing keeping chickens in residential areas. These laws change and this is not intended to be a definitive guide, so please look up the laws in your area. Where possible a link is provided to online laws.
Esquimalt, BC. No poultry keeping is allowed in the Municipality of Esquimalt. However up to 10 caged "ornamental birds" (kept primarily for show) are allowed. (Their official definition of "Ornamental Bird" does not exclude chickens.)
Victoria, BC. Has a bylaw that supports raising urban poultry. No Roosters. No "Farm Animals". Poultry are not classified as "farm animals" under Victoria's bylaws.
Toronto, ONT. Chickens are prohibited.
Huntsville, AL. Fowl must be kept 150 ft. from neighboring residences, which of course is impossible on your typical city lot.
Mobile, AL. Unlimited chickens allowed. No breeding, no roosters.
Little Rock, AR. Up to four chickens allowed. Up to four animals total.
Anaheim, CA. Can keep 3 chickens on a 5,000 square foot lot, 6 chickens on a 10,000 square foot lot.
Bakersfield, CA. Municipal code 6.08.010: Any chickens must be "kept securely enclosed in a yard or pen at all times."
Berkeley, CA. Chickens must be kept penned and 30 ft. away from any bedrooms.
Downey, CA. Up to five chickens allowed per lot.
Folsom, CA. Not more than any combination of two chickens, ducks, pigeons and rabbits shall be kept within any zoning district of the city other than agricultural or agricultural combining districts; and said animals shall be kept or maintained at least twenty feet from any property line.
La Puente, CA. Up to 20 chickens allowed for each ten thousand sq. feet of lot area in residential zones.
Lafayette, CA. Residents can keep approximately 4 chickens.
Los Angeles, CA. Unlimited. Chickens may not be within 20 feet of owner's residence, and must be at least 35 feet from any other dwelling.
Mission Viejo, CA. You are allowed up to two chickens, and roosters are not allowed.
Mountain View, CA. Up to 4 hens without a permit. Keep 25 ft. from residences. Within 25 ft. is o.k. with written consent from residences. No roosters.
Oakland, CA. Keep chicken enclosed, & 20 ft. from any dwelling, church or school.
Redwood City, CA. Maximum of 3 chickens permitted. No roosters over 4 months of age.
Roseville, CA. Maximum 10 chickens kept 20 ft. from any property line &/or building. They don't delineate hens or roosters.
Sacramento, CA. Except for a few areas specifically spelled out in code, keeping chickens is not allowed in Sacramento.
Sacramento County, CA. As long as your yard is 10,000 square feet or more, you can keep chickens.
San Diego, CA. Keep up to 25 fowl and rabits or 100 fowl, rabbits, and pigeons. Keep them 50' from residential buildings. Keep their food from rodents.
San Jose, CA. 1-4 chickens must be kept 15 feet from neighboring structures. 4-6 chickens must be kept 20 feet away. A permit is required if you keep more than 6 chickens. In any area zoned ‘residential,’ only hens are permitted; no roosters.
Santa Rosa, CA. Up to 25. May have 25 chickens per 20,000 square feet. No chickens in residential areas zoned R1, R2 or PRC.
Vallejo, CA. You are allowed to keep up to 25 chickens if they are kept 15 ft. from neighboring dwellings. Roosters are allowed but subject to noise nuisance violations.
Woodland, CA. It is OK to keep up to 6 hens provided they are kept over 40 ft. from neighboring residences.
Colorado Springs, CO. A property may have a maximum of 10 fowl (chickens, ducks, etc.) requiring at least four square feet of coop area and adequate outdoor space. No roosters permitted within the city limits.
Denver, CO. Chicken permit must be purchased from the city for $50 & you must show that the enclosure will be clean & pest free.
Fort Collins, CO. No restrictions, except number can't threaten health and safety and birds must be under physical control.
Northglenn, CO. Not allowed unless property is zoned for agriculture.
Thornton, CO. Not zoned for fowl.
Westminster, CO. Not allowed unless property is zoned for agriculture.
Washington D.C. Housing chickens here violates health laws and is not legal.
Boynton Beach, FL. It is unlawful to keep poultry in the city.
Miami, FL. May have up to 15 hens, no roosters. No poultry houses shall be situated less than 100 feet from any human dwelling. Droppings shall not be used for fertilizer. All food used for poultry, fowl and grazing animals shall be kept inaccessible to rats. All poultry or fowl droppings shall be removed from the pens at least twice weekly, wrapped in paper and placed in covered garbage cans for removal.
Sanford, FL. A recent law (2007) says that this city does not allow chickens and you can only have 3 dogs and 3 cats. No potbelly pigs, goats, etc.
Sanford County, FL. According to county ordinance, chickens are permitted. However, it appears the code wants you to keep your chickens penned 25 ft. away from your own house and 150 ft. away from neighbors which, again, would be only possible on very large lots.
Alpharetta, GA. There is a 75 chicken maximum.
Atlanta, GA. Chickens are allowed here.
Lawrenceville, GA. No chickens allowed. However, apparently this law is only enforced if someone complains.
Boise, ID. Up to three "pet" hens allowed. No roosters.
Nampa, ID. Keep 50 ft. from neighbors. Pay $50 for a permit. Only 3 chickens allowed and no roosters.
Chicago, IL. Can have unlimited number of chickens if use is only for pets or eggs; cannot have if use is to slaughter. Must be penned.
Clive, IA. No more than 12 chickens on lots less than 1.5 acres. Must be 150 feet from homes and 50 feet from property line.
Davenport, IA. Chickens not allowed, unless property is zoned as agricultural.
Des Moines, IA. Lots smaller than 1 acre, up to 30 birds; lots 1 acre or larger, up to 50 birds. Not allowed in the front yard, and must be at least 25' from neighbors.
Johnston, IA. "No ... chickens shall be allowed to run at large within the corporate limits of the city..."
Sioux City, IA. Permit required. No roosters over 4 months old. No more than 50 birds total. Must be at least 25' from the home and at least 150' from neighboring homes.
Urbandale, IA. Chickens must be kept at least 150 feet from any dwelling.
Waukee, IA. No fowl shall be kept within the city limits of the City, except in A-1 District or A-2 Annexation District on tracts of one (1) or more acres.
West Des Moines, IA. Chickens may not "run at large."
Windsor Heights, IA. No more than 2 chickens allowed; must be kept in a coop at all times. Must be at least 25' from neighboring residences, and may not be in front yard.
Topeka, KS. Unlimited chickens allowed. Chickens must be penned 50 feet from any neighbor’s house.
Louisville, KY. If you have non-crowing poultry, you can have up to five birds. Must be penned and not allowed to roam on the owner’s land.
Baton Rouge, LA. The keeping of more than three chickens within a recognized residential subdivision on a lot of less than one acre is prohibited. (Does this mean that you can keep two hens, then, if you live on less than one acre?)
New Orleans, LA. Sale or donation of chicks younger than 4 weeks of age is prohibited except in quantities of 12 to an individual. Giving fowl away as prize or advertizing device is also prohibited. Chickens are to be treated humanely and kept in clean, sturdy housing.
Guilford, ME. "There shall be no poultry or livestock in the Town of Guilford within the municipal Water or Sewer Districts, with the exception that if the lot is 5 acres or more the Planning Board will have the authority to grant a variance.” Basically, no poultry or livestock within the Water or Sewer Districts.
Portland, ME. Chickens not legal.
South Portland, ME. No chickens of any kind allowed.
Baltimore County, MD. Must have 1 acre of land to have poultry.
Boston, MA. All residential zones in Boston forbid "auxiliary keeping of animals", which includes poultry and other livestock.
Cambridge, MA. Nowhere are chickens mentioned in the city codes. The city itself comments that as long as the chickens are "pets", there is nothing to enforce or not enforce.
Lynn, MA. You have to go to all your neighbors and have them sign a petition stating that they would not have any problems with you having the hens. If you have complaints from neighbors about your chickens, you are subject to a fine of $1000.00 per day.
Somerset, MA. The entire town is zoned agricultural. No limits on the number of chickens allowed. You are asked to submit a plan for your management of manure.
Wenham, MA. Poultry allowed, but the town may restrict your operation if it causes a public nuisance (noise) or public health issues (disease).
Westfield, MA. Chickens not allowed. No "livestock." Maximum of five cats and dogs.
Westwood, MA. Up to 10 fowl allowed on lots less than 40,000 sq. feet, Coop must be 15 feet from property lines. Permit application must include site plan. $10 annual permit fee and BOH inspection prior to issuance of the permit. Cockerels must be kept 1,000 feet from property lines.
Ann Arbor, MI. Four chickens, with neighbors' consent, but no roosters. Coops must be 10 feet from the edge of the property.
Detroit, MI. Not allowed. No "farm animals."
Edina, MN. Chickens not allowed.
Minneapolis, MN. Unlimited. Applicant needs consent from 80 percent of neighbors within 100 feet of real estate. Chickens must be penned.
St. Louis, MO. You can keep up to four chickens without a permit. If you want to keep more, you must file a permit (cost is $40) with the Health Commissioner.
Omaha, NE. May have chickens in city limits as long as they are hens, no roosters, for egg production. Must have enclosure, subject to The Humane Society inspection, to apply for permit.
Las Vegas, NV. Roosters not allowed. Hens allowed if kept in a coop, but must notify Animal Control first. Chickens can’t be kept in a basement, house or cellar.
Albuquerque, NM. Zoning allows the raising of unlimited poultry if penned at least 20 feet from neighboring dwellings.
Santa Fe, NM. Unlimited chickens allowed.
New Hempstead, NY. The maintenance of 4 or fewer fowl (chickens, ducks, etc.) is permitted. No roosters. All fowl shall be kept in an enclosure area at least 75 feet from any lot line.
New York City, NY. Chickens are considered pets under the Health Code. Unlimited number of hens allowed; no roosters or other types of poultry. Code mentions cleanliness of chicken area must be kept clean.
Oswego, NY. Chickens not allowed. Can only have chickens that were "grandfathered."
Riga / Churchville, NY. Chickens allowed but all housing of livestock has to be 100 ft. off of any lot lines.
Syracuse, NY. Chickens sometimes allowed. Depends on zoning. No roosters.
Chapel Hill, NC. 20 chickens allowed.
Durham, NC. No chickens are allowed.
Raleigh, NC. No limit on number of chickens kept.
Toledo, OH. Not legal to keep chickens within the city limits. Chickens are permitted with a written variance from the city health inspector.
Ponca City, OK. Chickens must be kept 100 ft. from neighbor's houses, so this essentially makes keeping chickens impossible on normal lots.
Stillwater, OK. Chickens may not be kept within 150 feet of any house. In addition, any pen for poultry must enclose a minimum of 900 square feet.
Corvallis, OR. Unlimited chickens allowed. No roosters. Chickens must be penned.
Eugene, OR. A maximum of 2 hens, no roosters, kept 20 feet from dwellings.
Gresham, OR. Unlimited “livestock” allowed, provided they are kept 100ft. from neighbors, which is possible only on uncommonly large lots.
Hillsboro, OR. It is unlawful for any person to possess or harbor any livestock within the corporate limits of the city. The county offices say chickens are not allowed but if no one complains then it’s unlikely any enforcement would happen.
Portland, OR. Three hens allowed without a permit. No roosters. Permit for more costs $31. Keep 25ft. from residences.
Salem, OR. There have been recent debates in Salem regarding the current law that chickens are illegal here.
Catawissa, PA. Chickens must be confined, no closer than 10 feet from neighboring properties, kept clean with no odors emanating across property lines.
Pittsburgh, PA. "Fowl at large” are not permitted in unenclosed areas, other peoples' property, or public lands. Also, “no more than 5 pets per household" city limit and animal nuisance prohibitions as well.
State College, PA. Legal to raise chickens provided they are housed “under sanitary conditions" and that they "shall not become either a public or private nuisance." No mention of numbers restrictions.
Aiken, SC. Chickens must be penned, and the pen kept 40 ft. from neighboring residences.
Nashville, TN. Has an unlimited chicken law assuming “No person shall keep chickens within the metropolitan government area in such a manner that a nuisance is created” and are kept penned, no “fowl at large.”
Austin, TX. Up to 10 fowl per household, but keep in enclosure that's 50 ft. away from neighbors.
Houston, TX. Up to 30 chickens allowed. Chickens must be kept 100 feet from neighboring structures.
Irving, TX. According to the Parks & Recreation 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.
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.
Brigham City, UT. Definition of domesticated animal includes 'fowls' Section 4:01.16 defines that the pets can be kept in humane enclosure not larger than 50 cubic feet. It also states that 'household pets' will be no more than 6 birds.
Orem City, UT. Limit of poultry/fowl: 20 on a lot under one acre, and must be kept 40 ft. from dwelling on same lot or 85 ft. from neighboring dwelling.
Burlington, VT. Up to 3 fowl per household.
Fairfax County, VA. Illegal to house any chicken unless your property is zoned for agriculture.
Falls Church, VA. Chickens not allowed. No "agricultural animals."
Bothell, WA. You may own 3 or less fowl. Must keep coop 20 ft. from your own property line. If your neighbors say it’s okay, you may place chickens closer to your shared property line.
Everett, WA. No roosters. No maximum number of hens, but you must get a facility license permit from Animal Services if you keep 5 or more. This requires inspection of your facilities/property. Chickens must be kept enclosed.
Gig Harbor, WA. No regulations for animals except bees.
Olympia, WA. Up to 3 birds, hens are considered, roosters prohibited.
Seattle, WA. Municipal Code 23.44.048 says up to 3 domestic fowl may be kept on any lot. Can have a total of three small animals; more if the lot is large.
Spokane, WA. Up to three chickens allowed. Can have up to three animals total.
Tacoma, WA. Livestock allowed in the city
Woodinville, WA. No restrictions in the code for animals according to the planning department.
Green Bay, WI. The law reads: May have 4 birds over 8 inches tall per residence plus a clutch or part of a clutch for 8 weeks.
Madison, WI. Up to four chickens per household. Not allowed to roam free. Keep pen 25 ft. from neighbors. $10 annual permit required. Hens only; no roosters allowed.
Casper, WY. Chickens sometimes allowed. Can have chickens in special circumstances, like 4-H.