Frederick Flock Rules

Cluck cluck, you’re in luck! The City of Frederick, Maryland is chicken-friendly. Before you run out and buy those sweet peeps, here’s what you need to know.

Chicken FAQs in The City of Frederick

Can all residents keep chickens?
Not everyone can keep chickens in The City of Frederick. People living in townhomes or condos can’t have them. If you have an HOA that prohibits chickens, you can’t keep them either.

Here’s who can keep chickens:
1) residents qualify to keep chickens if they live in a single family detached or duplex residential lot in any zoning district and
2) have a lot that is at least 2,500 square feet.

How many chickens can I keep?
Put your chicken math away for this one and pull out your calculator instead. In The City of Frederick, your lot size determines how many chickens you can keep. You may have:

  • One chicken for every 500 square feet of yard space, with a
  • A maximum of six (6) chickens.

Can I have a rooster to protect my flock?
Nope. Every day is “Hensday” in Frederick. Roos are not allowed by law. If you end up with a rooster, you’ll have to start using your new chicken friend connections to find it another home.

What about the coop? 
A coop is required if you want to keep chickens within The City of Frederick. It should be

  • 10 feet off of any property line
  • No higher than 6 feet
  • Predator proof
  • Provide the chickens with shade, proper ventilation, and protection from the elements
  • Kept clean

Can I let them free range?
Coops are required to be surrounded by a 4 foot fence around the property OR the chickens need to be confined to a run. Additionally,chickens must stay within your backyard, and your girls need to be locked up at night in the coop. If your chickens have a coop, and an enclosed run, and your backyard has a 4 foot fence around it, the girls are not required to be confined to the run all the time – you can let them wander around some. But you are responsible for keeping them in your backyard at all times.

Can I make money from my flock?
In short, not really. You cannot use your chickens for commercial purposes. No selling eggs. No selling that amazing chicken manure. No breeding chickens. Backyard chickens in The City of Frederick are for personal purposes only.

Can I have a house chicken?
Sorry, no house chickens allowed. Not even those cute little silkies. All chickens must be kept outdoors, in the coop.

So, do I need a license or registrations? 
You sure do. You need a Backyard Chicken License within The City of Frederick, and your coop needs to be inspected as a part of that to ensure it meets requirements. Once you have your chickens, they need to be registered with The State of Maryland. Skip to the next section to learn more.

Is there a fee for the license?
There is a $50 fee for the Backyard Chicken License.

Is there anything else I need to know? 
Yes, this is just an overview. Read the law and ask questions if you don’t understand. Educate yourself before you impulse-buy that cute peep in the bin. For example, if you live in the Historic District, you’ll have to make sure you comply with any regulations there or if you rent your property, you’ll likely need to see what is required.

Step-By-Step Guide to Legal Chickens in The City of Frederick, MD

Keeping backyard chickens within The City of Frederick does come with some paperwork. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it and give you all the links you need to get started.

  1. Apply for your Backyard Chicken License within The City of Frederick. Download and fill out the application. The cost of the license is $50. Before you begin filling it out, here’s what you’ll need to have or know:
    • How many chickens you will have
    • The breeds of your chickens
    • The size/dimensions of the coop
    • The size/dimensions of the run
    • Your fence height, style, etc.
    • A plot plan
  2. Build your coop. Make sure your coop is the right size and in the right place!
  3. Get your coop inspected. Once your coop is in place and complete, get your inspection. If you pass inspection, you’re good to get chickens!
  4. Get your chickens. Make sure you read up on caring for baby chicks, including safety concerns with their set up. Remember, ladies only!
  5. Register your flock: Maryland Poultry Registration Form. If you get approved to have chickens, you must register them with The State of Maryland. This program helps protect the Maryland domestic poultry industries from the spread of diseases.
  6. Enjoy your birds! Sit back and enjoy some chicken cuddles.

Links to Resources:

Backyard Chicken License Application – The City of Frederick

Maryland Poultry Registration Form – The State of Maryland

Ordinance Outlining Chicken Regulations – The City of Frederick

Amendment Allowing Chickens on Duplex Lots (July 2018) – The City of Frederick