License to Own, Keep and/or Harbor Chickens

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No person shall own, keep or harbor any chickens, or build, erect or maintain and use any chicken coop, house, yard or other building or structure to keep or harbor chickens anywhere within the City without obtaining a license.

Any person who owns, keeps or harbors chickens in the City of La Crosse shall obtain a license within thirty (30) days of acquiring the chickens.

License Period

The term year of a license commences on January 1 and ends the following December 31. Residents deciding to own, keep and/or harbor chickens for successive years must obtain a new license for each term year they own, keep or harbor such chickens.

License Fee

A non-refundable license fee of $25.00 is due at the time of application filing (cash, check payable to City Treasurer or credit with convenience fee).

How to Apply

Applications shall be made in writing on the form prescribed by law and filed with the City Clerk's Office who may issue the same after approval by the Judiciary & Administration Committee. The application must contain a scale drawing showing property lot lines, dimensions of coop/enclosure and distance from adjoining lot lines and residential structures.

In the event a complaint has been filed with the City prior to renewal of said license within the calendar year prior to renewal, applicants must receive written approval from not less than 50 percent of the owner-occupied neighboring property owners whose property is within 100 feet of the applicant's property lines exclusive of street right-of-way prior to approval of said license by the Common Council.

Filing Deadline

Applications received by 5:00 p.m. on the Monday following the second Thursday of the month will be submitted to and considered by the Judiciary & Administration Committee at their next regularly scheduled meeting.

Additional Information

Any owner, occupier or user of property within the City of La Crosse who chooses to own, keep or harbor chickens and any chicken coop permitted under this section shall be limited to the following conditions:

  • One property is limited to the keeping or harboring of up to five (5) chickens.
  • A person may only own, keep or harbor chickens on property being used as a one-family dwelling (single family) or two-family dwelling (duplex).
  • No person shall keep any rooster.
  • No person shall slaughter any chickens.
  • Chickens shall be provided with a covered enclosure and kept in covered enclosure or a fenced enclosure within the backyard of the property at all times.
  • No enclosure shall be located closer than 25 feet to any residential structure on an adjacent lot.

For additional information, refer to Sec. 6-16 of the La Crosse Municipal Code.

Mandatory Premises Registration in Wisconsin

Anyone who owns and houses livestock in Wisconsin is legally required to register their premises with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). This applies whether you own one or one hundred birds. Doing so is free and enables DATCP to alert you to disease issues that affect poultry.

For more information, visit DATCP.


For more information, contact the City Clerk's Office at (608) 789-7510.

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