Does my City Allow Chickens?

An increasing number of people are interested in living more sustainably. Backyard chickens allow us to reduce our carbon footprint by producing some of our own food.

Here is a list of which cities in the MN Metro Area allow chickens. If you are unsure if your city allows chickens, go to your city's website, and find a contact number or email address for the zoning member of your city council. Typically, anyone on the city's website can point you to the correct person if the information is not clear. You can also often find chicken-related information wherever there is mention of 'dog permits' or 'shed permits', etc., as chicken licenses and permits to build coops on your property fall under a similar jurisdiction.

If you are within city limits, the following guidelines are very typical: "My city allows up to 3 hens, or 6 hens, and no roosters, etc." Facebook chicken groups are the best place to find loving homes for any extra hens or roosters you may end up with, and has replaced the "Listing my rooster on Craigslist" option that would have been the "go-to" for folks in the past.

If your city does not currently allow chickens, you'll need to gather signatures from local residents via an online petition to "add a city ordinance to allow chickens" and then open up a dialog with your city council representatives. Changes to your city's ordinance could include allowing up to five hens, no roosters, an enclosed weather- and predator-proof coop, no slaughtering on the property, and guidelines on where the coop can sit.

Additional tidbits for your city council representatives to consider:

  1. Your city council should meet with a livestock expert from your State University or NPIP board.
  2. Proposed ordinances would have similar consequences to someone violating a dog or cat rule.
  3. A well-bred chicken should be friendly, social, low maintenance, and quiet. Typically, hens are not noisy animals, as it is the roosters that are known more for their crowing.
  4. When hens lay eggs, they squawk at around 60 decibels. That compares to a barking dog at 90 dB or lawnmowers from 80 to 100dB.
  5. Other cities that allow chickens do not generally have many chicken-related complaints. Usually things work out for themselves.
  6. Other public health concerns - for example, there have been only six cases of salmonella in Minnesota this year.
  7. Typically, backyard coops can be attractive and clean. People tend to take pride in having it be an attractive part of their yard.
  8. Five hens generally create less manure than one medium-sized dog.
  9. Some people may worry a chicken ordinance would create an influx of chicken-owners, but applications for chicken licenses tend to be quite low. 

That's all for now, chicken friends!