Cities and Towns That Allow Backyard Chickens in Vermont


In the state of Vermont, the practice of urban chicken keeping has gained significant traction in recent years, with several cities and towns recognizing the numerous benefits associated with allowing residents to raise backyard chickens. Burlington, for example, permits its inhabitants to keep up to six hens, provided they adhere to specific guidelines regarding setback distances and coop maintenance.

This progressive approach not only promotes sustainability by reducing food miles and waste but also fosters a sense of self-sufficiency among urban dwellers. Additionally, backyard chickens offer valuable educational opportunities for children and adults alike, teaching them about responsibility, agriculture, and environmental stewardship.

A red and a white hens

However, there are regulations in place to ensure responsible poultry ownership. As an aspiring chicken owner living in Vermont, you need to consult your local laws before diving into this endeavor as regulations may differ from one municipality to another. Meanwhile, in this article, I have listed a few Vermont municipalities that allow the keeping of backyard chickens for noncommercial purposes.

Burlington, VT

The City of Burlington allows residents to own chickens for both commercial and noncommercial purposes. The keeping of roosters (male chickens) is prohibited in Burlington. Per the city's Code of Ordinances, owners must register their chickens with the city's health officer. The registration fee for 5 or more female chickens is $25. The City Code requires that chicken manure be handled and stored in a manner that prevents it from spilling onto a neighboring property.

In addition, chickens must be provided with a predator-resistant, well-ventilated enclosure, which must be kept no less than 10 feet from all property lines. However, if you obtain written approval from your neighbors, this requirement may be reduced to 5 feet from a property line.

Essex, VT

If you live in the town of Essex, VT, you need to obtain a permit to keep a maximum of 6 female chickens in your backyard for personal use. Per the town's zoning regulations, chickens must be kept in a secure enclosure, which must be maintained in a neat and sanitary condition at all times. Chicken manure and odor from chickens must not be perceptible at the property boundaries.

Furthermore, the slaughtering of chickens should be conducted in a discreet location to ensure it remains unseen by the public eye. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in a $200 fine per offense and a permit revocation.

South Burlington, VT

South Burlington residents are required to apply for and obtain a Backyard Chicken Permit before keeping any chickens. The application fee for the initial permit is $20, followed by an annual renewal fee of $10 thereafter. Under the permit, a maximum of 6 female chickens are allowed to be kept for personal use on a lot, regardless of how many dwelling units are on the lot.

The city's chicken ordinance requires that chickens be kept in a secure coop, which must be located at least 20 feet from all property lines. However, if you obtain written permission from neighboring property owners, this setback requirement may be reduced to 5 feet from a property line.

Colchester, VT

In the town of Colchester, VT, residents are allowed to keep chickens provided they have the space. According to the town's development regulations, chicken enclosures are specifically prohibited from being kept within minimum front, side and rear yards. The town code does not regulate the number or type of chickens residents can own. However, it is important to contact your local authorities before keeping any chickens.

Brattleboro, VT

The town of Brattleboro requires that residents obtain a $55 permit to keep chickens in residential neighborhoods. With a permit, Brattleboro residents can keep up to 8 female chickens (roosters are not allowed) in their backyards for personal use. Chickens must be confined to a coop, which must be located at least 50 feet from neighboring dwellings.

Essex Junction, VT

In Essex Junction, VT, a permit is required to keep a small number of female chickens for noncommercial use. The initial fee for an annual permit to keep chickens in Essex Junction is $35, while the fee for renewing the permit annually is $10. The number of hens you can keep with the permit is 4 per lot, regardless of how many dwelling units are on the lot. The city's municipal code requires that chickens be secured within a structure, which must be kept at least 10 feet from side yard property lines and 15 feet from the rear yard property lines.

Williston, VT

If you are considering keeping chickens in the town of Williston, VT, you must first obtain an annual permit from the town. The cost for obtaining an initial permit to keep chickens in Williston, VT, is $20, while the fee for renewing an existing permit is $10. Under the permit, a maximum of 6 female chickens are allowed per lot, regardless of how many dwelling units are on the lot.

The selling of eggs or engagement in chicken breeding or fertilizer production is strictly prohibited in Williston. The town's chicken ordinance requires that chickens be kept in an enclosure, which must be clean, dry, and odor-free.

Other Vermont Municipalities That Allow Backyard Chickens

  • Barre, VT: Up to 15 hens per lot
  • Winooski, VT: A $10 permit is required to keep chickens
  • Lyndon, VT: No more than 8 hens per property
  • Hinesburg, VT: Allows backyard chickens
  • Bristol, VT: No restriction on chicken-keeping
Numerous municipalities in Vermont lack ordinances governing the ownership of backyard chickens, thereby rendering the practice technically permissible.


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