Raising Urban Chickens: Understanding the Legal Basics

Jennifer Harmening
Urban Gardener

Urban chicken laws vary from city to city in Minnesota. Recent laws have made it easier for residents to raise backyard chickens in the Twin Cities and many neighbors are taking advantage of the opportunity for fresh eggs and a closer connection to their food supply. If you are interested in following this trend with your very own flock, it’s important to understand the legal basics in your community.


Rule #1: Chickens can be kept by residents of single-family homes and duplexes only. Sorry apartment-dwellers!

Rule #2: The written consent of at least 80 percent of your neighbors within 100 feet of your property is required before you can begin raising chickens in the city.

Rule #3: Permits are required and must be renewed annually. Apply for your own permit with Minneapolis Animal Care and Control. Be sure to include proof of your neighbors’ consent along with your $30.00 application fee.

Rule #4: Keep the backyard chickens in the backyard. Chickens cannot be raised inside your home. Not only is it illegal, but your feathered friends will be happier outdoors anyway.

St. Paul

Rule #1: Permits are required for any St. Paul resident keeping more than one chicken in the city. Submit your application to the St. Paul Animal Control Center within the Department of Safety and Inspections.

Rule #2: The written consent of at least 75 percent of your neighbors within 150 feet of your property is required before you bring your flock home. Don’t worry about owners or occupants of property across the street; you won’t need their consent to meet St. Paul’s legal expectations. And don’t be intimidated by that large apartment building down the block. You don’t need a signature from every unit; simply ask the building’s owner or manager for approval.

Rule #3: Roosters, with bad reputations for noisy cock-a-doodle-doos and feisty behavior, are not allowed. If you’re going to keep your own coop within city limits, it will have to be for hens only.

Rule #4: Provide for the basic needs of your chickens with a fenced enclosure, backyard coop, rodent-proof food containers, and an appropriate means of disposing chicken waste.

Remember, however, that local regulations are constantly evolving. For example, one recent proposal advocates for more relaxed backyard chicken laws in St. Paul, allowing residents to keep up to three hens without a permit or neighbor consent. Use the resources below to stay abreast of new developments and find additional details about raising urban chickens in your area. St. Paul and Minneapolis aren’t the only cities allowing backyard chickens these days. Wherever you call home, search the Municode website below or call your local animal control agency for information about your own community’s chicken regulations.

Act Locally

Chicken Run Rescue, local chicken shelter
Minneapolis, MN

Raising Urban Chickens

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