Chicken Ordinance

Maplewood's chicken ordinance allows residents to keep up to 10 hens (no roosters) on single family residential properties (except the city’s small lot zoning - R-1S) with a yearly permit. The initial permit must be approved by 100% of the property owners adjacent to your property. The cost of the initial permit is $75 and the yearly renewal is $50. Chickens must be housed in a chicken coop with a run or fenced exercise area in the rear or side yard. A summary of the ordinance, full ordinance, and chicken permit application follow:

Chicken Permit Guidelines

  • Allowed in single dwelling zoning districts (except property zoned R-1S)
  • Allowed up to 10 hens (no roosters)
  • Consent from 100% of adjacent property owners
  • Chickens must be equipped with leg bands (supplied by the city upon approval of permit)
  • Detailed site plan showing the chicken coop:
    • Located in rear or side yard
    • Setback at least five feet from rear or side property lines
  • Detailed chicken coop plans showing:
    • Interior floor space must allow for 4 square feet per chicken
    • Interior height must be 6 feet to allow access for cleaning and maintenance (If a 2 foot elevated run is constructed below the chicken coop overall height of coop can be 4 feet or taller)
    • 1 door to allow humans access to the coop and 1 door for chickens (if above ground level)
    • 1 square foot window per 10 square feet of floor space (Window must be able to open for ventilation)
    • 1 nest box for every 3 chickens
    • 1.5 inch diameter or greater roost, located 18 inches from the wall and 2 - 3 inches above the floor
    • If the chicken coop is over 200 square feet or if you plan on installing electricity in the structure you will need to apply for a building or electrical permit from the Environmental and Economic Development Department at 651-249-2300
  • Detailed chicken run plans showing the following (required unless chickens have access to a fenced yard as outlined below):
    • Located in the rear or side yard
    • 10 square feet per chicken, if access to a fenced exercise yard is also available or 16 square feet per chicken if access to an exercise yard is not available (If the coop is elevated 2 feet allowing chickens access space beneath the coop, the area may count as a portion of the minimum footprint)
    • Adequate fencing to keep hens in and predators out
    • 1 gate to allow human access to the run
    • 6 feet in height to allow access for cleaning and maintenance
    • Substrate must be composed of material that can be easily raked or regularly replaced to reduce odor and flies
  • Exercise yard specifications showing the following (required unless a chicken run is provided as outlined above):
    • Must be fenced
    • Must provide a minimum of 174 square feet per chicken

Chicken Permit Process

Along with your permit application, please submit a coop details showing the dimensions of the chicken coop and site plan showing the location of the coop in the yard. Submit your application and plans to the Citizen Services Department. The city’s Licensing Specialist will review the application and determine if any additional material is required. Once the application is complete, the Licensing Specialist will send out a certified letter to all neighboring properties to obtain the required consent for the permit (100% of your adjacent property owners must consent to the permit). The letter contains a general outline of the chicken ordinance, applicant's request, and outline a time frame for response. A “no reply” to the letter from the adjacent property owner is viewed as consent. 

Be aware that if you order chickens you MUST make sure that you only receive only hens - roosters are prohibited.

Chicken Permit Inspection

The final step is in the Chicken Permit process is an inspection of the site from a city Enforcement Officer. The inspection will determine if the chicken coop was constructed in compliance with the permit requirements and that all other guidelines are met. Once the inspection has passed the Licensing Specialist will mail numbered leg bands to the owner. The leg bands will identify the animal's owners and will help the city Animal Control Officer contact the applicant if the animal strays.

Maintaining Your Chicken Coop

All chicken coops must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition - free of accumulation of refuse, filth, or any other substances that attracts rodents. The coop and surrounding area must be cleaned frequently enough to control odor. Additionally, excessive amounts of manure shall not be allowed to accumulate on the property and all deceased animals must be properly disposed of within 48-72 hours of their death. If the coop or surrounding area becomes a health hazard or a public nuisance a city Code Enforcement Officer may remove the chickens from the property and revoke the residential chicken permit.

Things to Consider

Raising chickens is a rewarding and fun hobby and offers you a great local food source - eggs. Before you consider raising chickens, however, consider the following:
If your family is frequently away from the house for long periods of time and do not have a reliable person to feed and care for them, chickens may not be for you. There is a big commitment in time and cost required to raise chickens. In the end, the “free” farm fresh eggs from your brood will most likely end up more expensive than the normal grocery store variety. Another thing to consider before applying for a permit is that hens require daily attention. Hens lay eggs for 5 years but can live to be as old as 14 years. 

Additional Resources

  • My Pet Chicken has information on chicken health, coops, raising chicks, and more.
  • My Chicken Run Rescue has information on residential chicken health, care, maintenance.
  • The University of Minnesota has many resources available for interested urban farmers. The U of M also has a top rated Poultry Department. There is a list of resources and contact who specialize in poultry.
  • Egg cartons are available at the Hampden Park Co-op. The coop is located at at 928 Raymond Avenue, Saint Paul. Please call ahead for availability 651-646-6686.

Urban Chicken Farming Classes