Rules for keeping backyard chickens in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Rules for keeping backyard chickens in Minneapolis and St. Paul

The cost of an omelette is going up this summer, thanks to an outbreak of avian flu that has devastated chicken flocks across the Midwest.

Minnesota has been hit especially hard. The state lost nearly a third of its egg-laying flock, about 3.6 million birds in total, according to the Star-Tribune. That has driven up the price of eggs and caused suppliers like Minnetonka’s Michael Foods to start cancelling orders altogether.

What’s an egg lover to do in such dire times?

Backyard chickens are a viable option if you’re looking for a cheap, consistent source of eggs. The added bonus is that this is the more eco-friendly option than buying your eggs at the grocery store. It takes no fuel for the egg to get from your backyard to your plate, so it reduces your carbon footprint.

Even better, backyard chickens are natural pest killers. They love to peck and scavenge for bugs, simultaneously ridding your backyard of harmful insects and developing more nutritionally dense eggs than chickens that are fed grain diets.

Getting started is easy. You just have to follow the rules for keeping backyard chickens in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Rules for keeping backyard chickens in Minneapolis

minneapolis city view
Photo courtesy.

Minneapolis is a chicken-friendly city, but in order to ensure you don’t run a-fowl of the law, you’ll have to follow the city’s chicken keeping rules.

  • Ask your neighbors. The city requires written consent from at least 80 percent of residents who live within 100 feet of your house.
  • You’ll have to submit the plans for your coop to the city’s planning division. Here’s what they’re looking for:
    • Your coop needs to be at least 20 feet away from your neighbors’ property.
    • It has to match yours and your neighbors’ buildings. No eyesores.
  • Lastly, live slaughter is prohibited. Don’t kill chickens in your backyard.

Rules for keeping backyard chickens in St. Paul

What are St. Paul’s rules for keeping backyard chickens in the city? They are similar to Minneapolis’, with an emphasis on responsibly caring for your chickens and keeping their space clean.

The City of St. Paul specifies these guidelines:

  • The city requires chicken owners to tend to their flock at least twice daily, including a once-daily changing of wet litter.
  • Composting feces or animal parts is not allowed.
  • The chickens have to stay on your property.

And for the coop:

  • The coop has to be at least 5 feet from the property line and can’t be any taller than 12 feet.
  • You are allowed 1 chicken for every 4 feet of coop area.
  • If you’re using electrical heating, the wiring must be approved by permit.