Backyard Chickens

Photo of lady with chickensGeneral Information About Backyard Chickens in North Richland Hills

More North Richland Hills residents can now raise chickens in their own backyards, after the approval of a new city ordinance during the November 13, 2023 NRH City Council Meeting. The 2023 backyard chicken ordinance removed the 1-acre lot size requirement for raising chickens, which had been in place since 1985. 

The number of chickens now allowed varies depending on the lot size and the distance of the chicken coop to neighboring homes:  

  • If distance is less than 30 feet on any lot size, no chickens are allowed. 
  • If distance is 30 feet or more on any lot size, 6 chickens are allowed. 
  • If distance is 50 feet or more: 
    • 10 chickens allowed when property size is 8,400 square feet to ½ acre
    • 15 chickens allowed when property size is ½ acre to ¾ acre
    • 18 chickens allowed when property size is ¾ acre or greater

The backyard chicken ordinance also put other requirements in place to safeguard human and animal welfare, including: 

  • An annual permit must be obtained from the Neighborhood Services Department before owning chickens. There is no permit fee.
  • Residents who already have chickens must apply for a permit within 60 days of December 11, 2023 (when the permit application became available) in order to meet grace provisions of the 2023 backyard chicken ordinance.
  • In order to have backyard chickens, a property must be zoned single-family residential with a permanent dwelling unit.
  • An applicant must complete an educational course on backyard hen care, submit details about their coop and exercise area, and submit a site plan showing where their coop and exercise area will be located.
  • If the applicant does not own the property, their landlord will also need to provide notarized written approval.
  • Rules are in place to prevent nuisances that could be created by improper practices for backyard chickens. These include: 
    • The keeping of roosters or other fowl other than backyard chickens is not allowed. 
    • It is the responsibility of the person keeping backyard chickens to protect the chickens from predators and to keep the backyard chickens enclosed in the rear yard of the property. 
    • The chicken coop and attached exercise area must be located at least three (3) feet from the property line or any other structures which would require a construction permit on the property. 
    • A chicken coop and exercise area located on a lot with a size less than one quarter acre shall be located behind a fence that is at least six (6) feet in height.
    • The chicken coop shall have a minimum of ten (10) inches of roosting space for each backyard chicken kept. 
    • There shall be at least one (1) nesting box for every four (4) backyard chickens kept. 
    • Backyard chickens and fowl, of any type, may not be surrendered to the NRH Animal Adoption and Rescue Center or any other city facility. 
    • Backyard chicken byproducts, including but not limited to eggs, meat, or manure may not be offered for sale except in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations. 
    • Manure and droppings shall be removed from yards, coops and other enclosures at least weekly and handled or disposed of in such a manner as to keep the premises free of any nuisance. 
    • Storage of droppings or manure between such removals shall only be permitted in permanent containers which protect against the breeding of insects or rodents and to prevent their migration into drainage easements, and to prevent fly larvae (maggots) into the surrounding soil.
    • The feeding of vegetables, meat scraps, or garbage shall be done only in impervious containers or on an impervious platform.
    • Watering troughs or tanks shall be equipped with adequate facilities for draining the overflow so as to prevent the breeding of flies, mosquitoes, or other insects.
    • No putrescible material or items that can decay or decompose shall be allowed to accumulate or be stored on the property, and all such material used to feed backyard chickens which is unconsumed shall be removed from the property. 
    • The Neighborhood Services Department may conduct a compliance inspection of the property in the event of a complaint that the permit holder is in violation of this article.

The City Council will review the ordinance after 2 years to see if it should continue as written, or if revisions should be made. For more information about future ordinance revisions, please contact Neighborhood Services at 817-427-6650 or email smartinez@nrhtx.com.

Applying for a Permit to Keep Backyard Chickens

Residents interested in having backyard chickens must apply for the backyard chicken permit using the online portal at http://nrhtx.com/eportal. You can also click here for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for this permit online. 

If you're not computer savvy, Neighborhood Services can also provide a hard copy of the application that you can fill out and submit with supporting documents to nrhcode@nrhtx.com or bring hard copies to Neighborhood Services on the first floor of NRH City Hall, 4301 City Point Dr., NRH, TX 76180. Contact Neighborhood Services at 817-427-6650 or nrhcode@nrhtx.com with any questions about the process for receiving a permit to keep backyard chickens.

Some Options for Fulfilling Educational Course Requirement for Backyard Hen Care: 

Other Useful Resources About Backyard Chickens: