City loosens restrictions on chicken farming

If you keep chickens at your house, you’ll no longer run afoul of the law.

This week the city council loosened the restrictions for the number of chickens you can raise in your backyard. You can now have five instead of just one.

There are some other guidelines – there must be a 15-foot setback from the coops, you must have a sight-obscuring fence and the chickens can’t be processed at home.

Michelle McGraw, who’s lived in Lynnwood for the past 24 years, spoke in favor of raising chickens.

“Living in Lynnwood this long it’s just ironic to me that a community that has its roots in chicken farming is one of the only communities anywhere around us that doesn’t allow chickens,” she said. McGraw cited the health benefits of homegrown eggs.

Several neighboring cities – including Edmonds, Mill Creek and Mukilteo – all allow multiple chickens to be kept at residences.

Lynnwood made the move after some citizens requested it. Officials acknowledged that some residents had already been raising chickens in their backyards.

Former City Councilman Ted Hikel was opposed to the new law.

“Lynnwood is no longer rural Snohomish County. We are the urban center of south Snohomish County,” he said. “If your neighbor has five chickens in their backyard, your backyard will be impacted with the noise of five chickens and the unpleasant odor of five chickens.”

The new law does not allow roosters to be kept at home.

  1. Really, councilman Hikel? Have you the slightest idea how much noise and smell five hens would produce? 

    I’m glad the city decided to ignore the ignorant councilman and alter the statute.  Keeping a handful of hens is beneficial, easy, and would rarely cause any bother if properly done.

  2. Hi,
    I live at zip code 98087. I would like to raise chickens at my backyard. I am wondering how many chickens allowed and any requirements.
    Thank you for helping with the answer.

    1. Thao. You are actually in unincorporated Lynnwood and will need to check Snohomish County rules.

      This is Lynnwood’s rule:

      Lynnwood chicken law
      LYNNWOOD — The path is set for people to be able to coop up to five chickens on single-family properties in Lynnwood. … The ordinance requires that 15 feet separate a coop or pen from neighbors, the fowl cannot be kept in front yards, fencing must separate chickens from neighbors and roosters are not allowed.Feb 29, 2012

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