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Urban Chickens and City Ordinances

By Rachel Carlson, LMC Staff Attorney,

Urban chickens are a definitely a trend. A simple Google search will clue you into the
expanding world of city chickens and the people who love and vocally advocate for them.
Faced with more requests from residents, some cities are drafting specific ordinances to
address the issue. Alexis Stangl, an LMC attorney colleague, has compiled a sampling of
chicken ordinances that may be of assistance. If you are looking to regulate chickens, try
these sample ordinances:

• City of Duluth (Chapter 6, Article VII, Sections 6-79, 6-79.1):

• Fergus Falls, Ordinance No 108, Sixth Series

• Grand Rapids (Chapter 10, Article III):


• Minneapolis (Title 4, Chapter 70):

Common features of chicken ordinances include:

• Permit requirements;
• Limits on numbers of chickens (either a flat number or a sliding scale based on
• Limits on districts in the city where they may be located;
• Living conditions for the chickens (coop size, etc);
• Requiring written permission from neighbors;
• Location of coops and runs (usually must be located in rear yard);
• Restrictions on keeping male roosters;
• Minimum acreage requirements for lots where chickens are raised.

However, it is important to note that the most common ordinance provision is to

prohibit chickens altogether as farm animals (or strictly limit their presence to
agricultural lots). Cities issuing permits for and allowing urban chickens still continue to
be a rarity in Minnesota.

An interesting final note from my Google search on urban chickens is that there now
appear to be urban chicken “rescue” operations. Like dog rescue operations, these sites
indicate that the keeping of chickens can create problems for the animals and public
related to neglect or maltreatment. Time limits on permits, requiring permit renewals,
procedures for permit revocation and inspections can be drafted into ordinances to help
limit these types of problems. State law contains explicit prohibitions at Minn. Stat. §
343.31 (find at on the keeping and
use of fighting animals (including chickens). It may be helpful to include a reference to
the statute in local ordinance.

About the Author:

Rachel Carlson is an attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. The League of
Minnesota Cities is a membership organization serving Minnesota cities since 1913.
LMC Codification is a specialized service to help our cities maintain complete, up to
date and affordable code books in a frequently changing legal landscape. The LMC
Codification blog can be found at: