Delaware Cities and Towns That Allow Backyard Chickens

Many municipalities in the state of Delaware allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards for noncommercial purposes. While some municipalities require that residents obtain a permit before keeping chickens, others do not.

And the maximum number of backyard chickens you can have in Delaware depends on the municipality wherein you live and the size of your property. Most Delaware municipalities allow up to 6 backyard chickens regardless of property size. In this article, I have listed some Delaware cities that permit the keeping of backyard chickens.

Backyard Chickens in Delaware

Dover, DE

The city of Dover allows residents to keep as many as 25 chickens in their backyards. However, Dover's Code of Ordinances does not allow residents to keep roosters, only hens are allowed. The City has a noise ordinance that chicken owners must comply with. Actually, Sec. 18-6 of the City Code prohibits chicken owners from permitting their animals to cause frequent or long continued noise that disturbs the comfort of another person in the city. Allowing your animals to make frequent or long continued noise or run at large is considered to be a public nuisance and detrimental to public health and welfare in Dover, DE.

Newark, DE

In Newark, DE, the maximum number of domestic animals allowed per household is six. This number includes chickens. You may choose to have 2 dogs and 4 chickens or 3 dogs and 3 chickens, or 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 chickens. However, the number of your domestic animals must not exceed 6.

The City of Newark prohibits pet owners from allowing their animals to stray away from their premises. This, in addition to frequent or habitual or long continued noise, is considered a public nuisance in Newark, DE. Lastly, Newark Code prohibits the accumulation of chickens' fecal matter, which can create obnoxious or offensive odors, or potentially create a health hazard.

Bear, DE

If you live in Bear, Delaware, you need at least one acre of land in order to keep chickens in your backyard in a residentially zoned district. Only hens are allowed in Bear, no roosters. Other birds you can keep in Bear include turkeys, ducks, quails, doves, guinea hens, waterfowl, geese, game fowl, pigeons, peacocks, and pheasants. You may keep up to six chickens or other permitted birds in Bear, Delaware.

Smyrna, DE

If you reside in the Town of Smyrna, you make keep no more than 5 domestic animals, including chickens, on your premises. Smyrna Code prohibits chicken owners from allowing their birds to run at large or scatter garbage, refuse, and debris. In addition, Smyrna chicken owners must take all reasonable and necessary measures to prevent the accumulation of the chickens' fecal matter in the area where the birds are customarily kept.

Milford, DE

The City of Milford permits no more than 5 chickens for noncommercial purposes per residential lot. The keeping of backyard chickens is not allowed on lots less than 10,890 square feet in area. Milford chicken owners must register their birds with the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Milford does not allow the keeping of roosters within the city limits. All hens must be kept in a backyard coop that provides at least 4 square feet of space per chicken and is located at least 20 feet from the side and rear property lines.

Other Delaware Municipalities That Allow Backyard Chickens

  • Seaford
  • Wyoming
  • Greenwood
  • Town of Millsboro
  • Selbyville
  • Town of Ocean View
  • Town of Bridgeville


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