Massachusetts Chicken Laws

Cold New England winters don’t deter Massachusetts residents from wanting chickens in their yards. Luckily, the state tends to be friendly to the idea. Here’s a summary of Massachusetts chicken rules and regulations (but check your specific city’s rules, too):

  • Zoning: Backyard chickens are generally allowed in Massachusetts, but local zoning regulations may apply. It is important to check with your local government to determine if there are any restrictions.
  • Number of Chickens: The number of chickens allowed per property varies by town or city. For example, Boston allows up to six hens, but no roosters, while Amherst allows up to six hens and two roosters per household.
  • Roosters: Some towns or cities in Massachusetts prohibit roosters, while others allow them with restrictions, such as limiting the number per property or requiring permits.
  • Coops and Runs: Coops and runs must be predator-proof, well-ventilated, and clean to prevent disease and pest infestations. They should also provide adequate space for the number of chickens you keep.
  • Slaughtering: Slaughtering chickens is allowed on your own property, but there may be regulations regarding the disposal of waste and methods used. It is important to check with your local government before slaughtering chickens.
  • Health: Chickens must be kept in good health and free of disease. Regular veterinary check-ups are recommended.
  • Waste: Chicken waste must be properly disposed of, and composting is recommended.
  • Permitting: Some towns or cities require permits to keep backyard chickens, while others do not. Check with your local government to determine if a permit is necessary.

Remember that laws and regulations can vary by town or city, so it is important to check with your local government before keeping backyard chickens in Massachusetts.

View Massachusetts Chicken Ordinances by City

Browse more chicken laws by state.

Last updated: 4/26/24