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Any urban chicken owners out there?

I quickly need a model statute that addresses noise and sanitation concerns.

I live in a small town, but the land usage is pretty varied in the zone concerned. I don't know if I want chickens kept right next to a restaurant, and if the chickens wake up the neighbors, I know I'd hate that. On the other hand, there are plenty of cases where such things won't happen. So we need to statute to capture those ideas. Readers?

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caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

There are rules about enclosures and sanitation, etc.for all domestic animals. Basically, though, you can keep up to 3 chickens, no roosters allowed, in your backyard without obtaining any city license. You have to keep your chickens in your own yard, keep things clean, and make sure you don't attract vermin (like rats).

My neighbors keep chickens in the backyard. They have a coop, with a high wood and chicken wire fence. They clean it regularly. It doesn't cause any problems.

Here are the applicable parts of the city code.

gmoke's picture
Submitted by gmoke on

from Gianni Ortiz:

Hello Everyone,
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the following list of recommendations and regulations.
Cassie Peters has prepared an article (draft) that examines the zoning of 8 cities for National Ag Law Center which will be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Food Law and Policy. To receive a copy of the article, please contact her directly at
I have not read through all of the material and this is offered in no particular order.
Again, thanks very much for all your help feel free to pass along to anyone interested.

Attached is a summary and contact info of various jurisdictions that were working on this issue last year compiled by J.P Muhly. As well as a very nice survey of 23 municipalities from the DePaul Society submitted by Steve Garrett and a link to If these do not come through and you would like a copy, please email me Liana Hoodes suggested the website NOFA MASS has a nice reference page for Massachusetts regs and helpful information for those who are working to change chicken laws

From Amy Shollenberger:
Burlington, VT’s charter:
(20) To restrain or regulate the keeping and running at large of poultry, cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats and dogs. And in addition to the tax now imposed by the laws of this state upon the owner or keeper of dogs, to impose upon or require of the owner or keeper of any dog or dogs, such additional tax or license fee for the keeping thereof, and prescribe such penalties in default thereof, as may be deemed necessary. And all moneys received hereunder shall be paid into the city treasury and belong to said city.

I’m pretty sure you can have bees anywhere in VT - – just not within 2 miles of someone else’s registered apiary.

By the way, we also have a great “working farm dog” law: – which has helped many farmers and homesteaders with neighbor relations.

From the indomitable Jill Richardson:
Various regs concerning structures, farm stands, etc…
How to…

From Joan Nichols and Ted jones:
Maine State Beekeepers and Barnstable Beekeepers, Ma.

From Kavanah Anderson:
Durham, NC has a "limited agriculture permit" to keep hens within the city limits. More info here: Bees are also allowed. Here's a link to the proposal to amend the UDO; the proposal ultimately passed:

From John Gerber: