Urban Chickens

The Ankeny City Council approved an amendment to Ordinance 2156 to allow residents to raise and keep chickens within the city limits. Effective Oct. 23, 2023 residents will be allowed to apply for a permit to keep chickens on their property. Applications will be reviewed by the Community Development Department and will be granted upon meeting the requirements outlined in Ordinance 2156, chapter 58.

All homeowners interested in keeping chickens are required to review their neighborhood covenants prior to applying for a permit. A city ordinance does not have more authority than rules set by a homeowner’s association. If the neighborhood covenants say no chickens/livestock in the development, the resident must follow those rules.

General guidelines and requirements for keeping chickens in Ankeny:

  • The resident must successfully complete the Getting Started with Backyard Chickens eCourse (iastate.edu) in raising chickens in an urban setting prior to submitting a permit. Copy of certificate is required. 
  • The resident must obtain a permit from the City to keep chickens. Apply for a permit online. This involves submitting an online application and paying the required fee of $100. The permit is effective for one year from the date it is issued.
  • A maximum of six female chickens (hens) is allowed per residence. Absolutely no roosters.
  • The resident must live in a single-family home with a lot size of at least ¼ of an acre (10,890 square feet). Confirm your lot size with the Polk County Assessor.
  • Henhouses, chicken tractors and chicken pens must be located at least twenty-five (25) feet from any property line.
  • Chickens must be kept in enclosures or fenced areas at all times, and enclosures must be well-maintained and impermeable to predators.
  • The resident must ensure that odors and noise from chickens do not negatively impact neighboring properties.
  • Residents must meet specific requirements for the storage and removal of chicken waste.
  • The permit does not allow commercial activities related to chickens, such as breeding or selling eggs or chickens.

Permits for urban chickens are subject to annual renewal and will be granted upon meeting the requirements. Appeals are available for applicants in the event of permit denial, suspension, revocation, or non-renewal. For a full list of requirements and guidelines, view the ordinance.