Urban Chickens

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Urban Chickens

Urban chickens provide you with fresh eggs that you gather right in your own backyard. Many local municipalities now allow hens to be kept in city limits upon successful completion of the Backyard Chicken Workshop class at Indian Creek Nature Center.

Learn the basics required to safely and successfully raise chickens in urban and suburban areas. Participants will receive a certificate of completion, enabling them to receive a permit to legally keep chickens in Cedar Rapids, Marion, and other neighboring communities.

Local Ordinances

Cedar Rapids

The Urban Chicken Ordinance Chapter 23A makes provisions for keeping chickens within city limits, which means residents will be allowed to raise, harbor or keep hens on single family dwelling properties with a valid permit for one year. The annual permit fee will be $25.00 payable directly to the City upon application.

Urban Chicken permit applications are available at the Building Services Division, located at the City Services Center at 500 15th Avenue SW.

All applicants will be required to provide notice to residents of all immediately adjacent dwellings of the applicant’s intent to obtain a permit. In addition, all applicants will be required to complete an approved class hosted by the Indian Creek Nature Center about raising chickens in an urban setting.

This new ordinance restricts the number of chickens to six per tract of land regardless of how many dwelling units are on the tract. Only female chickens (hens) are allowed. All hens must be tagged at all times for identification purposes. These tags will be provided by the City of Cedar Rapids when the permit application is approved.

Cedar Rapids Permit Application


The keeping of no more than six (6) chickens for use on single-family detached residential property for the benefit of the owners of said property is not considered agriculture for the purposes of this ordinance.

The City Clerk/Administrator shall issue a permit if the following requirements have been met:

  1. The property for which the permit is sought has passed inspection by the City Administrator.
  2. The fee has been paid.
  3. There are no nuisance conditions, or unresolved violations of nuisance ordinance, on the property.
  4. The parcel of land for which the permit is sought contains only one (1) Single-Family dwelling which is occupied and used as such by the applicant/permittee.
  5. The applicant has provided written verification of the consent of the owner of the parcel of land for which the permit is sought, if the applicant is not the owner, and is instead tenant, lessee or otherwise authorized to reside at and use the property.
  6. The applicant has provided verification they successfully completed an approved class in raising chickens in an urban, or suburban, setting. The City Clerk/Administrator shall maintain a current list of approved classes.
  7. The application is in compliance with all other conditions and prerequisites set out in this ordinance. 8. Applicant has paid the permit fee of ten (10) dollars.
Ely Permit Application


The city allows residents to have hens or ducks per Chapter 55A of the Marion Municipal Code. A permit is required to keep hens or ducks.

A maximum number of six (6) hens or ducks are allowed per parcel of land; however, the square footage requirement of the enclosure must be met. Each chicken or duck must have a leg band with the provided permit number. Chicken and ducks must have their wings appropriately clipped to prevent them from flying.

The following list of enclosure requirements is NOT a comprehensive list. Refer to Chapter 55A of the Marion Municipal Code for a comprehensive list.

  • A minimum of four (4) square feet per bird is required.
  • An enclosure and pen shall only be located in the rear or side yard as defined by Section 176.07 of the Marion Municipal Code. At no time are enclosures allowed in the front or corner side yard of a parcel.
  • The enclosure, including pen shall be a minimum distance of ten (10) feet from a property line and twenty-five (25) feet from an adjacent residential dwelling, place of worship, school, or place of business.
Marion Permit Application