Cities and Towns That Allow Backyard Chickens in Rhode Island

From providing you with fresh, healthy eggs, to saving you money, to giving you great fertilizer for gardening, keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard has many benefits. In many states, it is easy to raise backyard chickens if you live in an agricultural area. However, when it comes to raising chickens in urban areas, there are restrictions.

A backyard hen

In the state of Rhode Island, many cities allow residents to raise a limited number of chickens in their backyards for noncommercial purposes. If you live in Rhode Island and are considering having chickens in your backyard, the first thing to do is check with your local authorities to find out if it is allowed in the municipality where you live. Meanwhile, I have listed some Rhode Island municipalities that permit the keeping of backyard chickens within city limits.

Providence, RI

In Providence, the capital city of Rhode Island, residents are allowed to keep a maximum of six chickens, excluding roosters, on any lot. The City Code requires that hens be provided with both a secure, well-ventilated coop and a fenced outdoor enclosure. The coop must provide a minimum of 2 square feet per chicken and be kept in a sanitary condition at all times.

In addition, the coop must be situated at least 20 feet from any dwelling and be upon a permeable surface that prevents waste run-off. Providence chicken owners must not allow their hens to create a nuisance. Furthermore, the floor of every place where chickens are slaughtered must be of cement or some other material impervious to water. Slaughtering a chicken on a wooden floor is not allowed within the City of Providence.

Cranston, RI

The City of Cranston permits residents to keep no more than ten hens for noncommercial purposes on any lot. Chicken hens may be kept in the back or side yard. Hens are required to be provided with both a coop and a fenced outdoor enclosure. However, the City Code prohibits the coops from being built onto any shared fence. In addition, the coop must be predator-proof, well-ventilated, and provide a minimum of 2 square feet per hen. Both the coop and the run are required to be located at least 20 feet away from neighboring residences.

Cumberland, RI

If you reside in a residential zone in the town of Cumberland, RI, you may keep a maximum of five chickens in your backyard. However, the keeping of roosters (male chickens) is strictly prohibited within the town. Additionally, the keeping of chickens is not allowed on properties containing more than one residential unit. The Town Code requires that chicken enclosures be located no less than 25 feet from the property line.

South Kingstown, RI

It is legal to keep chickens in South Kingstown, RI, according to the town's Code of Ordinances. While the Town Code does not place a restriction on the number or type of chickens residents can own, it does prohibit owners from permitting their chickens to stray from their property. If your chickens are found outside of your property in South Kingstown, you will receive a written warning for a first violation and be fined $50 for a second offense within one year. For a third violation within one year, you will be fined $100.

West Warwick, RI

The town of West Warwick permits no more than 12 female chickens (hens) per lot. Per the town's Code of Ordinances, all hens must be provided with both a coop and a fenced outdoor enclosure. The coop must be well-ventilated, predator-resistant, and provide a minimum of 2 square feet per hen. Additionally, the coop must be kept in a sanitary condition at all times and be located on a permeable surface that prevents waste runoff.

Newport, RI

If you live in the City of Newport, RI, you may have a maximum of six backyard chickens for personal use only. However, only female chickens are allowed to be kept in a backyard coop, no roosters. Chicken coops are required by ordinance to provide a minimum of 2 square feet per hen kept therein and be no more than 8 feet in height and 64 square feet in area. The on-site slaughtering of chickens is prohibited within the city of Newport.

Westerly, RI

The town of Westerly allows residents to keep up to 30 chickens provided that they can keep the birds at least 100 feet from the nearest residence. The Town Code requires that chicken enclosures be at all times maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. Moreover, it is illegal to permit your chickens to run at large in the Town of Westerly. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in a fine.

Other Rhode Island Municipalities That Permit Backyard Chickens

  • Coventry, RI: Chickens must not create a nuisance - source
  • Lincoln, RI: Allows the keeping of hens for egg production
  • Bristol, RI: Chickens must be registered with the Town
  • Smithfield, RI: Chickens must not be at large
  • Portsmouth, RI: Chickens must not be a public nuisance
  • Barrington, RI: Allows no more than 6 hens per lot
  • North Smithfield, RI: Permits no more than 12 hens per lot
  • Warren, RI: Allows no more than six hens per lot
  • Scituate, RI: Chickens must not be allowed to go at large
  • Richmond, RI: Chickens must be kept 20 feet from any dwelling
The fact that an increasing number of cities and towns are embracing backyard chicken-keeping highlights the growing recognition of urban agriculture's potential benefits for communities across Rhode Island.


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