Chicken Keeping Rules

​In Salem, you can keep chickens 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 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 per property
  • Roosters are not allowed
Four red hens

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

Chicken facilities

A “chicken facility” includes a coop and runway.  A coop is a roofed shelter for chickens.  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.  Chickens must remain confined to the chicken facility.

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

You must comply with all zoning standards such as building setbacks and lot coverage limits.

Size of your chicken facility:

  • At least six square feet of run space per chicken
  • At least three square feet of coop space per chicken​

A coop may not exceed 120 square feet.

Woman kneeling beside chicken coop

Chicken 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