Keeping chickens in Winston-Salem

City residents are allowed to keep chickens and other fowl on their property

The rules, at a glance:

  • You may have up to 5 hens or other fowl.  • No roosters are allowed.
  • Coops and runs must be in the back yard and be at least 20 feet from any adjoining property line. 
  • You may slaughter chickens for personal use on your property as long as it is not visible from streets, sidewalks, public property or adjoining property.
  • The full text of the city’s ordinance on keeping chickens and other fowl is found in Section 6-6 of the City Code.

Here are some other provisions in the ordinance: 

  • Manure and uneaten feed must be placed in a pit or bin that is watertight and fly-proof. The bin or pit must be emptied every 5 days from March 15 through Sept. 15, and every 7 days the rest of the year.
  • Runs must be enclosed, at least 4 feet high, and provide 10 square feet for per chicken.
  • Chicken coops must be inside the run, have at least 3 square feet per and be at least 2 feet high per level. Multi-level coops are allowed.
  • Pigeon coops do not have to be inside a run.

The city’s Community Development Department is responsible for enforcing these provisions of the city code.