I have a small backyard and live in a densely populated part of Brooklyn. I'm interested in exploring the possibility of getting two chickens for eggs. I was wondering if anyone has any advice for the urban chicken coop.

Is it legal? I know some of my neighbors have them. Is it safe? Will they get eaten by rats?

  • Not only legal, but an excellent way to irritate the hell out of your neighbors. Commented May 14, 2014 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure of the legality, but here is an article on raising chickens in NYC:

Urban Agriculture: Raising Chickens in New York City

I looked at the NYC Ordinances and it looks like it may be possible to get a permit to keep chickens, but then it also looked like permits will no longer be issued. Check out NYC Title 24: http://72-0-151-116.tvc-ip.com/nyc/RCNY/r724h061.asp?zoom_highlight=chicken. I linked to the ordinances from a lawyer's website, but the site only has an IP.

(3) The revision makes it clear that in built-up portions of the City a permit to keep chickens cannot include the right to keep roosters (see: People v. Filactas, 257 App. Div. 95, 12 N.Y.S. 2d 175 (1st Dept. 1939)), and the prohibition is extended to ducks, geese and turkeys. Even persons who keep live rabbits or fowl for purposes other than sale and who therefore do not need permits, are prohibited by §161.19(a) from keeping roosters, ducks, geese and turkeys in built-up areas. (4) Permits will no longer be issued for the keeping for sale or sale of live rabbits and poultry on the same lot as a dwelling; under §19 Reg. 2(d) this apparently could be done with the consent of the occupants although S.C. §19 Reg. 2(a) prohibited it.


It IS legal to have chickens in NYC and there is even an organization that helps people get set up and understand what they are getting into called the City Chicken Project.


This interview with Elizabeth Bee Ayer, who runs City Chicken Institute in Metro NY also stated that it is legal to have chickens but NOT roosters.


She also explains the level of commitment that it takes to raise chickens in NYC. Most importantly is this part of the article by MEREDITH ENGEL Published: June 19, 2012

How expensive is it to raise chickens here?

“It is a fairly costly venture. You have to buy the birds, you have to build the coop, you have to buy a feeder and water. It’s so expensive to raise chickens that most people lose money. You would have to sell your eggs at, like, $15 a dozen if you’re gonna pay your labor costs.”

  • 2
    You don't have to buy a lot of that, though. Our current urban chickens live in a house made mostly of scrounged materials (we bought the screws) and eat our kitchen and garden scraps (as well as bought food). Their water bowls are plastic takeaway containers.
    – Móż
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 1:20

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