Backyard Chickens

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Standards for Keeping Backyard Chickens: 

  • No more than six (6) backyard chickens may be kept on an individual property, tact or residential lot
  • Backyard chickens shall be kept in a secure coop or exercise yard which prevents escape.
  • During daylight hours, chickens under direct supervision and control of an adult, shall be allowed to roam in rear yard outside of their enclosure.
  • Rear yard of location where backyard chickens are kept must be properly fenced and not less than four (4) feet in height.
  • Adequate food, shelter, water and care shall be provided in a humane manner. All hay, grain and feed shall be enclosed in a manner that it is not accessible to rats, flies, mosquitos, etc.
  • Manure and droppings shall be removed from pen, yard, coop, etc. regularly.
  • Wings must be clipped on each backyard chicken so as to prevent flying over the backyard fence.

Coop & Exercise Yard Specifications: 

  • Coop and exercise yard must be constructed of decay-resistant wood, or wood that has been pressure treated to resist decay, galvanized steel or aluminium.
  • Coop may be located ABOVE the exercise yard.
  • The height of the coop shall not exceed eight (8) feet in height above grade or the lowest height above grade of the fence enclosing the backyard.
  • The exercise yard frame shall securely hold the wire enclosure on all edges of the enclosure.
  • Coop shall be constructed with three (3) or more sides with a roof that will allow chickens to be protected from the elements. Coop must provide direct access by an enclosed passage to the exercise yard.
  • The coop shall provide no less than five (5) square feet of area per chicken, not to exceed eighty (80) square feet total.
  • The exercise yard shall provide no less than fifteen (15) square feet of area per chicken, not to exceed one hundred and twenty (120) square feet total.
  • Coop and Exercise yard must be maintained in a sanitary condition.

Inspections:

Inspection I - This inspection will allow staff to view your property to verify adequate space is available for your proposed coop and exercise yard per your Site Plan. Permit Application must include:

  • Certificate of Completion of a City offered Backyard Chicken education class.
  • Site Plan showing the proposed location for the coop and exercise yard on the property.  This shall also include a floor plan and side elevations of coop and exercise yard along with property lines, building lines, yard setbacks, right-of-ways, easements and/or other structures located on the property.
  • $60 non-refundable application fee.

Inspection II - This inspection is a followup to inspect the construction of the coop and exercise yard prior to the resident obtaining backyard chickens. 

There will not be a third inspection once you have brought backyard chickens onto your property, however we do reserve the right to verify at anytime the number of chickens on your property and that their wings have been clipped in accordance with City Ordinance. 

If you have submitted a Permit Application to Animal Services and you do not own the property, you will need to submit written authorization from the property owner allowing you to have backyard chickens on the property. This must be notarized. 

Reminders: 

  • A person may harbor or possess no more than 6 backyard chickens.
  • A residence may have only one (1) chicken coop and one (1) exercise yard.
  • Not more than one (1) permit may be issued for an individual property.
  • Permits are non-transferable.
  • Renters must provide written approval from the property owner allowing backyard chickens on the property.
  • Applicant must complete an educational program offered by the City regarding the keeping of backyard chickens prior to permit application submission.

Fees:

  • $60 Nonrefundable Permit Application Fee - Paid at the Watauga Animal Services Center with a complete Permit Application. 
  • $17 Annual Permit Fee - Paid at the completion of the 2nd inspection and at the time of each annual inspection completed there after. 


Backyard Chicken Permit Application