Chicken and Duck Keeping Rules

​In Salem, you can keep chickens and domestic ducks for personal use as long as you follow the city guidelines.  No permit or license is needed. You must maintain your chicken facility in a condition that does not produce noise or odor that creates a nuisance for other properties.

​Property types

You can keep chickens and ducks at:

  • A home
  • Community garden
  • School-owned property
  • Property owned by a religious organization

How many chickens you can have

  • A maximum of six hens and ducks total per property
  • Roosters are not allowed
Four red hens

You may keep up to six hens and ducks total in Salem without a permit or license.

Chicken and duck facilities

A “chicken and duck facility” includes a coop and runway.  A coop is a roofed shelter for chickens and ducks, and may not be more than 120 square feet.  A runway is a fully enclosed fenced area connected to the coop.  The coop and runway create an indoor and outdoor environment for the chickens.

When ducks are present, a facility must also include a water source. A “water source” is a clean supply of water in a pond, wading pool, tub or other container large enough for the duck to fit its entire body and deep enough to submerse its head.  

  • Chickens and ducks must remain confined at all times within the facility, except when under control of an owner or custodian
  • Facility must not produce noise or odor that creates a nuisance for neighbors
  • Facility must have at least six square feet of run space and at least three square feet of coop space per chicken or duck

Location of your chicken facility:

  • In the rear yard
  • At least three feet away from any other building on the property
  • At least 25 feet away from a residence on an adjacent unit of land

Chicken and duck coops must be at least three feet away from other buildings and comply with zoning standards.

Guideline exemptions

You do not have to meet any guidelines if your property meets one of the following criteria:

  • Zoned Residential Agriculture (RA) and the lot size is at least 10,000 square feet.
  • Zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU), any size lot.

You can check your property zone online or by calling the Planning Information Desk at 503-588-6213.

Additional information

Salem Revised Code 50.710 - Property maintenance law for the City of Salem
Adopting and caring for backyard chickens – Humane Society of the United States