Cities That Allow Backyard Chickens in Nebraska

In the state of Nebraska, chickens are allowed to be kept for noncommercial purposes in many urban areas. Many Nebraska cities prohibit the keeping of roosters and the number of hens is limited to 4 per household in some municipalities. Listed in this article are some Nebraska municipalities that allow the keeping of backyard chickens.

Three backyard hens in a coop

Omaha, NE

The keeping of backyard chickens is allowed in the City of Omaha, Nebraska. However, Omaha residents are required by ordinance to first obtain a permit from the health department before keeping any chickens. The kind and number of chickens to be kept must be stated on the application form. A health officer will then inspect the premises and the manner in which the chickens are to be kept. The permit will then be issued only if the health officer determines that the location and the keeping of chickens on the inspected premises shall not create a health hazard or nuisance to the surrounding neighborhood, per the City's Code of Ordinances.

Lincoln, NE

In Lincoln, Nebraska, residents are required by law to obtain a Small Animal Permit before keeping more than 3 chickens in their backyards. This means that the keeping of three chickens within the City limits of Lincoln does not require a permit. All chicken pens/coops/enclosures must have a hard floor and be located at least 50 feet or more from neighbors' houses.

Proper sanitation practices, specifically the removal of chicken manure, must be carried out within a maximum period of 7 days to prevent the occurrence of unpleasant odors, as well as the infestation of flies, mosquitoes, and other harmful insects. In cases where necessary, more frequent removal may be required.

Bellevue, NE

According to the Bellevue City Code, it is strictly prohibited for any individual who owns or keeps chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, or any other type of fowl to allow them to roam freely within the city limits. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of every chicken owner in Bellevue to ensure that their birds do not cause any disturbances or inconveniences to the public.

Grand Island, NE

In June 2023, Grand Island implemented a new policy that relaxed restrictions on backyard chickens, granting residents with a residential lot the opportunity to own up to four chickens for noncommercial purposes. However, it is important to note that certain regulations must still be adhered to, including guidelines on the location and size of the coop and enclosure. Additionally, it is required that a minimum of three chickens be kept on any given lot.

For those fortunate enough to possess a one-acre lot, the allowance increases significantly, with a maximum of 24 hens permitted. Regardless of lot size, the presence of roosters or hens that crow is strictly prohibited within the city limits of Grand Island.

Norfolk, NE

The City of Norfolk, NE, allows residents to keep chickens in their backyards for personal use only. While there is no limitation on the number of chickens residents can own, the City Code prohibits chickens from being allowed to run at large on any of the public ways or upon the property of another.

Hastings, NE

In the city of Hastings, Nebraska, the regulations stipulate that a maximum of six hens is permitted per single-family dwelling within the designated zoning districts. To comply with the ordinance, chicken coops or cages must be situated at least 25 feet away from any door or window of a dwelling or occupied structure, excluding the owner's residence. Additionally, it is required that coops and cages are not positioned within five feet of a side-yard lot line or within 18 inches of a rear-yard lot line.

These regulations have been put in place to ensure the harmonious coexistence of urban farming and residential areas in Hastings.

Columbus, NE

Only female chickens (hens) are permitted to be kept within the corporate limits of the City of Columbus, Nebraska. It is deemed a public nuisance in Columbus to unlawfully own, keep, maintain, or harbor roosters. While the City Code does not impose a specific limit on the number of hens residents can possess, there are additional regulations pertaining to coop size and sanitary conditions that owners must adhere to. These regulations ensure the well-being of both the chickens and the community at large.

North Platte, NE

In the City of North Platte, Nebraska, residents have the freedom to keep an unlimited number of chickens, as long as the birds do not cause any disturbances to the public. It is important to note that it is against the law for chicken owners in North Platte to allow their birds to roam freely on public property or on the property of others. Furthermore, it is also prohibited for individuals who own, keep, or harbor fowl to house them within 25 feet of any part of a building that is being used as a residence or dwelling by someone else.

Other Nebraska Municipalities That Allow Backyard Chickens

  • Scottsbluff, NE: Chickens must not be allowed to run at large
  • South Sioux City, NE: A permit is required to keep chickens
  • Lexington, NE: The keeping of chickens is allowed. Nuisance prohibited
  • Gretna, NE: Up to 4 chickens permitted per lot of 1 acre or less
  • York, NE: Chickens must not be kept within 50 feet of any building
  • Seward, NE: A maximum of 10 hens may be kept on a single lot
  • Nebraska City, NE: A $10 license is required to keep 4 hens
  • Holdrege, NE: Chickens must be kept in a sanitary condition
  • Chadron, NE: No more than 6 chickens per permit holder
  • Ogallala, NE: A permit is required to keep chickens
  • Waverly, NE: A $50 chicken permit is required to keep chickens
These are just a few Nebraska municipalities that permit the keeping of backyard chickens. If your city was not mentioned in this article, I recommend researching your local animal ordinances. It is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area to ensure compliance with the law.


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