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Keeping chickens and small domestic fowl in Portland

Information
Requirements, standards, setbacks and other considerations for keeping chickens and small fowl in Portland.
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Rules, permits and complaints

  • Up to four (4) chickens, ducks, pigeons and/or other similarly sized domestic fowl may be kept on any lot.
  • Up to six (6) small domestic fowl may be kept on lots 10,000 square feet and greater.
  • In addition to these numbers, up to four (4) small domestic fowl under 12 weeks of age are allowed. 
  • There is no maximum number on lots 20,000 square feet or greater that allow agricultural uses through Title 33: Zoning, or that have an approved conditional use.
  • Permits are not required, but you must comply with all Title 13 code standards and best practices.

View the general rules, allowances, permits and complaint information about keeping bees and livestock in Portland.

Ground cover

Facility has a ground cover that is absorbent and is replaced as often as necessary to prevent odor and vector breeding. If the run area is portable, such as a chicken tractor, then the run location should be temporary so that the chickens do not eventually remove all vegetation. Bare dirt should never be used as ground cover. Straw or wood shavings (except for cedar) is recommended for chicken coops.

Secure enclosure

A secure enclosure, such as a pen or kennel is a structure that must have secure sides, is a minimum of five feet high.  The enclosure may require a secure top attached to the sides, and a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the structure or the sides must be embedded in the ground no less than one foot. 

Animals are not allowed to roam off the animal owner’s property. The animal facility must prevent animals from roaming-at-large. If animals are allowed outside of the facility or run area, if must be temporary and supervised by the animal keeper or property owner. If there is an accidental escape, animal owners must make every effort to retrieve the animals immediately in a safe manner. If the enclosure is damaged or the avenue of escape is discovered, if must be repaired immediately to prevent any animal escape.

Vector control

Feeding and watering practices must not attract vectors. Vectors, such as rats, climb easily and will be attracted to the presence of feed.

  • Animal feed, including chicken feed, and any supplement used to support animal health must be stored in a sealed container that is not penetrable by rodents or other animals.
  • Feeding should be scheduled so that food is available for no more than 30 minutes at any time. Excess food should be removed to prevent rodent or other animal attraction.
  • One quarter inch hardware cloth should be affixed to the bottom and surrounding sides of the coop where there are no other solid materials providing structure.
  • All door gaps should be no larger than one quarter inch.
  • Check to see other food isn’t attracting rodents such as: bird food and feeders, pet food, pet waste, backyard compost that has not been rodent-proofed, and fallen fruit from trees or unharvested produce from gardens.
  • Rats are diggers. Provide underground barriers (1 foot minimum) around coops and areas where feed and waste are found.

Setbacks

  • Structures in a livestock facility must be located at least 3 feet from side and rear property lines and at least 10 feet from the front property line.
Diagram illustrating setback requirements

Development standards

Structures must comply with all building and zoning requirements that may apply. Any excavation should be done in accord with proper utility locating recommendations.

Sites with more than one residential unit

The following standards will apply on lots with more than one residential unit:

  • Animal facilities must be at least 15 feet from the walls of all residential units and dedicated outdoor private spaces.
  • The required minimum area dedicated for the animals must be met.
  • Recommend notifying adjacent neighbors in writing to provide information including animal type, number of animals and contact information.

Well-being of the animal

The health or well-being of the animals will not be in any way endangered by the manner of keeping or confinement. This includes enough food, water, attend to special needs such as hoof care for goats and sheep, and skilled care for sick animals.

Condition of animal structures

The structures housing the animals are in good repair, adequately ventilated, capable of being maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, free of vermin, obnoxious smells, and accumulated waste.

Best practices for keeping chickens

  • Chickens are social animals and owners are encouraged to have more than one chicken.
  • Recommendations on the size and configuration of the coop: at least two square feet of indoor space for each chicken and ten square feet of outdoor run per chicken. Food and water dishes are not included in determining square footage totals.
  • Recommended ground covers: straw or wood shavings (except for cedar). Bare dirt should never be used as a ground cover.

Guidelines on slaughtering

  • Meat is for personal consumption and may not be sold, unless raised as an agricultural use (on land zoned for agricultural uses).
  • Slaughtering should be done out of the public review, view from neighboring properties, and the view of other animals.

Rehoming

To re-home small domestic fowl such as roosters, contact the store where you purchased the animal or try your local feed store such as: 

  • Foster Feed and Garden Store (Portland)
  • Old Farmhouse (Estacada)
  • Aloha Feed and Garden Store (Aloha)

Helpful links

Keeping urban chickens

BackYard Chickens online forum

Best-Practices Guide to Open-Air Poultry Slaughter, Oregon State University Extension Services