Cities That Allow Backyard Chickens in Iowa


Many cities in the state of Iowa allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards for noncommercial purposes only. Keeping backyard chickens can bring a variety of benefits. First and foremost, fresh eggs are a major perk. They are richer in nutrients and taste better than store-bought eggs. However, the number and type of chickens you are allowed to own in Iowa depends on where you live, as each municipality in the Hawkeye State has its own rules and regulations. In many Iowa cities, the number of backyard chickens you can own depends on the size of your property.

In the city of Waukee, for example, a maximum of 6 chickens (hens only) are allowed on lands of one-half acre or less, with 6 additional hens for each additional one-half acre up to a maximum of 30 hens.

In others places, a maximum of six female chickens are allowed per property. In most Iowa municipalities, a permit is required to keep chickens. Listed in this article are some Iowa cities that allow the keeping of backyard chickens.

3 Backyard Chickens

Des Moines, IA

In the city of Des Moines, residences are limited to two chickens, which must at all times be maintained in a pen or coop. The pen, coop, or hutch is required to be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. Additionally, chicken coops or pens must be located in the rear yard only and at least 25 feet from neighboring dwellings, according to Des Moines' Code of Ordinances.

Cedar Rapids, IA

Residents must obtain a $25 annual urban chicken permit to keep backyard chickens in the City of Cedar Rapids. To obtain the permit, all applicants must notify residents of all immediately adjacent dwellings and subsequently complete an approved class about raising chickens in an urban setting at the Indian Creek Nature Center. Cedar Rapids Code limits each tract of land, regardless of how many dwelling units are on the tract, to six chickens, but roosters are not allowed. For identification purposes, all hens in Cedar Rapids are required to be tagged.

Davenport, IA

In the City of Davenport, each tract of land is limited to a maximum of 6 backyard hens. Roosters are not allowed within the city limits of Davenport, IA. The City Code requires that chickens be at all times kept in an enclosure or fenced area. The enclosure must not be located in the front yard and must be at all times kept in a clean, dry, odor-free, neat and sanitary condition. In addition, The City Code requires that all chicken enclosures be located at least 10 feet from the property line and 25 feet from any principal structure.

Sioux City, IA

Sioux City Code requires that residents obtain a permit from the inspection services division before keeping any chickens within the city limits. No more than four chickens may be kept on any premises within the city. Sioux City residents are prohibited from keeping roosters that are over four months old. Chicken coops are required to be located at least 45 feet from your own dwelling and 125 feet from neighboring dwellings.

Iowa City, IA

Iowa City allows up to four backyard chickens (roosters are prohibited) per single-family home. However, residents must obtain a permit and meet all requirements of the Urban Chicken Policy before keeping any chickens. No Iowa City resident will be issued a permit without the written consent of all neighboring property owners. The slaughtering of chickens is prohibited in Iowa City, as well as the selling of eggs and chicken. The City Code requires that chicken coops provide at least 4 square feet of space per chicken kept therein.

Ames, IA

In the city of Ames, the keeping of backyard chickens is allowed and the number of chickens a resident can own is not restricted. However, the City Code requires that all chickens be confined to a secure coop, which must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.

Waterloo, IA

In the City of Waterloo, residents are allowed to keep chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys in their backyards. The number of chickens a resident can keep in his or her backyard in Waterloo is not restricted. However, Waterloo Code prohibits owners from allowing their birds to run at large within the city and creating a nuisance.

Council Bluffs, IA

In Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, a $150 Farm Animal Permit, which lasts for 3 years, is required to keep backyard chickens. Under the permit, you can keep a maximum of 10 chickens in your backyard. In addition to chickens, you can also keep 4 ducks, 2 turkeys, and 2 geese. However, the total number of birds in your backyard must not exceed 10, according to Council Bluffs Municipal Code.

Dubuque, IA

The City of Dubuque allows residents to keep backyard chickens for egg production only. However, only female chickens (hens) are allowed to be kept, male chickens (roosters) are prohibited. Dubuque ordinance does not place a limit on the number of backyard hens a resident can have, but there are some legal requirements for keeping hens in the city. All chicken coops are required to be located in the backyard and hens are required to be provided with adequate shelter to protect them from the elements.

Other Iowa Cities


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