Maryland Counties and Cities That Allow Backyard Chickens

The keeping of backyard chickens is legal in the state of Maryland. It is required by law that Maryland chicken owners register with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. However, counties and cities may have their own code of ordinances regulating the number of chickens a person may keep in his backyard on a specific piece of property, the size of the lot, the distance of the chicken enclosure or coop from property lines, as well as other conditions.

Backyard Chickens in Maryland

In some cities, backyard chickens may not be allowed at all. That is why, as a Maryland resident wishing to raise backyard chickens, it is important that you check the law in the county or city in which you reside. In this article, you will find some Maryland Counties and Cities wherein the keeping of backyard chickens is allowed and links to the municipality codes.

Baltimore County, MD

In Baltimore County, Maryland, the keeping of backyard chickens is permitted. However, cities in Baltimore County regulate the number of chickens residents may keep. In Baltimore City, for example, a permit is required to keep a maximum of 4 backyard chickens on properties less than 2,000 square feet. Baltimore City prohibits the keeping of roosters within the city limits. 

Chickens must be kept in a predator-proof coop, which must be located at least 25 feet away from neighboring residences. Furthermore, Baltimore City does not allow the on-site slaughtering of chickens and the selling of eggs produced by backyard chickens.

Prince George's County, MD

In Prince George's County, Maryland, the City of Bowie allows the keeping of chickens for "agriculture use" on lots zoned R-80, R-55, and R-R. Bowie residents must obtain a "Special Permit" from the County Planning Board before keeping any chickens. The City of New Carrollton requires that residents obtain a permit from the Mayor of New Carrollton to keep backyard chickens as pets or for food purposes.

Montgomery County, MD

Raising backyard chickens is gaining popularity in Montgomery County, Maryland. The City of Gaithersburg allows residents to keep up to six backyard hens in a coop that must be located at least 200 feet from neighboring homes. In the City of Rockville, residents are permitted to keep up to five chickens for personal use in single-family homes. Roosters and the slaughtering of hens are not permitted within the city limits of Rockville. In addition, the keeping of chickens is not allowed in townhouses in the city of Rockville.

The City of Takoma Park allows its residents to keep as many chickens as they want, including roosters.

Howard County, MD

Residential chicken keeping is allowed in Howard County, Maryland. Up to eight chickens, excluding roosters, are allowed in detached, single-family houses with a yard of at least 10,000 square feet. Howard County requires that chicken coops be located at least 15 feet away from all property lines and 50 feet away from all neighboring houses.

Anne Arundel County, MD

Anne Arundel County residents must obtain a license to keep chickens in their backyards on lots less than 40,000 square feet. However, residents living on lots greater than 40,000 square feet may keep backyard chickens without obtaining an Anne Arundel County License. The chicken coop must be located in the rear yard and and 25 feet away from any dwelling. The number of chickens you can keep in Anne Arundel County depends on the size of your property.

The City of Annapolis allows residents to have up to five backyard hens per property, upon permit approval. Residents must have their chicken coops approved by the City of Annapolis before keeping any chickens.

Other Cities That Allow Backyard Chickens in Maryland

  • Frederick, MD: Requires a license to keep chickens
  • Aberdeen, MD: Allows 6 chickens per property
  • Westminster, MD: Allows chickens on properties zoned for agricultural use
  • La Plata Town, MD: Allows no more than six hens
  • City of Hagerstown, MD: Allows chickens in agricultural areas
  • City of Salisbury, MD: Up to 6 chickens allowed per household
  • Town of Delmar, MD: Allows chickens 

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