Ypsilanti City Code of Ordinances Keeping of female chickens (hens)

Community Food Security, Land Use and Planning, Land Use Regulation
Policy type

Ypsilanti’s animal ordinance was amended to allow residents to be able to keep hens in the backyard of their property. The ordinance states that residents in single- and two-family residential neighborhoods can apply for a renewable permit and pay a permit fee to keep no more than four hens in their backyard. Chicken coops or enclosures must be placed at least 20 feet away from any residential structure not owned by the permittee, unless she or he obtains written permission from the owner of the affected residential structure. The ordinance also states that chicken feed must be properly stored to avoid rodent infestations and that permittees are prohibited from slaughtering hens on the property.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies

Some U.S. cities have amended zoning to allow residents to keep backyard chickens with the intention of improving food access (Hodgson 2012). Ypsilanti’s backyard chicken ordinance allows for residents with reduced food access to engage in alternative opportunities for food production.

Scale of Governance
Summary Link
Policy Text Link
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority

Priority 1 – Increase healthy food access & consumption, Priority 6 – Use policy & planning to increase food access


Hodgson, K. (2012). “PLANNING FOR FOOD ACCESS AND COMMUNITY-BASED FOOD SYSTEMS: A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans.” American Planning Association. Retrieved on October 12, 2016 from LINK.