If you’re planning to keep chickens, bees or other animals in your backyard, there may be rules you need to follow. Depending on where you live, you may also need a permit. Contact the city you live in to learn more:

Important Change to Permits

Starting April 16, 2018, Multnomah County Vector Control will no longer process permits and enforce rules for chickens, bees and other farm animals in the City of Portland. This is now being handled by Portland’s Office of Sustainability, 503-823-1174.

Here are some basic health guidelines for keeping bees or farm animals in your backyard.

Be a Good Neighbor

If you plan to keep bees, you need to tell your neighbors. It’s also a good idea to tell your neighbors about other animals you plan to keep.

Some people may be allergic to bees. Knowing your plans ahead of time will reduce conflict from surprised neighbors. It also provides time for problem-solving to happen early on, which can reduce complaints.

Healthy Enclosures

  • Have enough space and good ground cover.
  • Feed your animals in an enclosed area (trough or baby bathtub) to keep rats and other rodents away. This also keeps them from eating their own droppings.
  • Feed at certain times.
  • Rat prevention tips»
backyard chickens

Chicken Coups

  • Allow a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space (per bird).
  • Outside, allow a minimum of 10 square feet of enclosed area per bird. Use a thick, replaceable ground cover such as straw or wood shavings.
  • Check your local farm store for coup plans.

Salmonella Prevention

  • Always wash your hands after handling chickens AND eggs.
  • Germs can get on the eggs, so make sure they’re cooked really good.
  • More safe handling tips»