The rules and regulations for owning chickens in the Richmond, Virginia, metro area are complicated, and can vary from location to location. I am familiar with these because I have, at one point or another, raised pigs, cows, horses, goats, and of course, chickens.
The good news is that raising chickens around Richmond has gotten easier.
Between 2000-2010 most counties/cities around the Richmond, Virginia region opened the doors to allow chickens in residential areas. Each, with its own set of guidelines. Below is exactly what you need to know if you want to raise chickens in each county.
Here are the County Ordinances for Owning Chickens in Richmond
Since each location has its particulars for how you can legally raise chickens, we’ve broken it down by the major counties in the Richmond Metro Area.
If you live in Henrico, you are allowed six hens and no roosters—pending a conditional use permit. In addition to the permit, Henrico also has structure (think: coop) requirements and setback regulations as well. Click here for details.
By contrast, Chesterfield allows 6 hens and no “noisy” roosters. Though like Henrico, has setback regulations and requires a structure to house the chickens. Click here for details.
The most restrictive set of rules around raising chickens is found in Richmond. The city allows only 4 hens, no roosters and requires a $60 annual permit. Click here for details.
Hanover allows 6 hens, no roosters. Also, part of the ordinance talks about disposal of feathers and waste. Click here for details.
Fun fact: Hanover, which is 474 square miles, has its fair share of farms both crop and livestock. But it was the last local county to adopt these ordinances in 2016.
In residential zones where chickens are permitted, you may have up to 6 hens and no roosters. Chickens must be housed in a coop and there are setback requirements. Agricultural zones may have more permissive ordinances. Click here for details.
Powhatan doesn’t specify any restriction on the number of chickens both hen and rooster. You may not let your poultry wander outside of your property into a highway or someone else’s land. Click here for details.
Your Homeowners Association May Have Additional Restrictions
Another important factor when considering whether you can raise chickens on your property is the HOA—or Homeowners Association.
For those unfamiliar, it’s a set of covenants (rules/restrictions) that apply to all homes inside a particular neighborhood/subdivision. HOAs inform homeowners in those communities what is and isn’t permitted within the boundaries.
HOAs can provide additional restrictions about animal breeds (yeah or nay), along with the number permitted, etc. So, if you are interested in raising chickens, it’s important to review the HOA packet with a fine-tooth comb. Better yet, send it to your attorney! After all, that’s why they are getting paid.
Zoning Affects Where You Can Have Chickens
The last consideration to note is that having a property that is zoned agricultural squashes any county ordinance and gives you a lot more freedom about what you do on your property.
Why Raise Chickens?
Obviously, chickens are a great source of eggs, but they also have a lot of benefits that are overlooked. They take care of insects around your property while fertilizing your property. They help cut down on food waste in the home and provide free backyard weed control. Not to mention they are therapeutic, entertaining and a cheap hobby if you do it right!
I can help you find a home where you can raise chickens
When you factor in HOA regulations and local ordinances, finding a place to raise chickens around Richmond, Virginia, is complicated. But not to worry. I have decades of experience and can help you find the perfect place for you—and your livestock—to live.
Shoot me an email, I’d love to talk more.
As a Chesterfield native and a seasoned Real Estate professional who works with someone, I call Mom, we value our clients and strive to provide the best experience whether buying or selling their home. We strive to educate through the transaction and prepare our clients for the ups and downs in real estate in Metro Richmond.
Prior to Real Estate I served our community through a local law enforcement agency for 10 years, and helped home owners with renovating and repairing their homes as a project manager for a local construction company where I gained knowledge and experience and sparked my real estate career. And on the side, I live and work on a farm and spend time with my amazing family, including my Mom and Dad.
Mair Downing is the editor at BeranGroupHomes.com. She oversees the development and creation of all of our articles here, so if you like them, be sure to let her know!
Mair is also an amazing Realtor with The Beran Group. She’s never met a stranger, so it’s no surprise if you feel like old friends after the first meeting. Mair is passionate about helping sellers and buyers navigate the sometimes complex world of real estate. If you’re a podcast junkie, check out Obsessed with Homes, where Mair shares the information she’s learned along her real estate journey.