Knoxville Urban Hen Coalition


Knoxville Urban Hen Coalition

This group is committed to building a community of responsible urban hen keepers in Knoxville.

Location: Knoxville
Members: 109
Latest Activity: Jul 8

How to Get Hens

*************City of Knoxville Now Accepting Hen Applications!***************

Here are the steps provided by some of the first people to go through the process.

Check out their website--  Hens at Our House -- For more great info!


1. Download an APPLICATION and the ORDINANCE
a. Hen Application.pdf
b. Hen Ordinance.pdf
b. Fully read the terms of the application, as well as the ordinance.

We got our Building Permit!

a. Create an over-head site map of your property, with the dimensions of your yard. Include the size and location of where you want to put your coop on the map.
b. Bring your site map and application and checkbook to the City County Bldg. Plans, and Inspections dept. on the 5th floor. Here you will show your site map, pay a $50 fee for a Building Permit and acquire a needed signature on your application packet. I advise calling the office first, to make sure someone is in who can sign your application and take your check. The city hotline, 311 can connect you. Keep your building permit form with your application. You will need your building permit number in step number five.


Take your application (now with signature from Inspections dept) back to the Animal Control Office, located on 5th Ave. Pay your $25 application fee, and leave a copy of your application with AC. The Board will need to vote on your application. This voting takes place once per month. You may attend the AC Board meeting while your application is voted on, but it isn't necessary. Voting takes place at the Young-Williams Animal Center. By the way, your coop does not need to be finished for you to take care of this step.


The ACB voted to approve our application.

When your application is approved by the Animal Control Board, the last step is having your coop inspected. This is done through Interactive Voice Response System, by calling 215-4830. An automated computer system will talk you through how to schedule the inspection. You will need to input your Building Permit number at this time. It is at the top left of your permit. When you select from a menu of what type of inspection you need, "chicken coop" is not currently a choice on the menu. I selected "Other" and left a voicemail explaining what kind of inspection I needed. Apparently, this automated system is all that is required to make your appointment. However, I went ahead and called the inspection office to confirm my appointment anyway. (I like talking to a live person.)

The inspector must check/sign your application when your coop has been seen.

Take your completed application back to the Animal Control office to show that your inspection is complete. You will be assigned a Permit number, and now you're official! Keep all papers together in your records.



*Thanks Natalie Townsend at Hens at Our House for writing this up!


The first permits have been approved:

Look here for people's experience in the permit process.

Look here to read a blog of a Knoxville Urban Hen Trailblazer!



***History of Ordinance***

The backyard hen ordinance passed on Tuesday night, August 24th 2010, with a city council vote of 5-3! THANKS to all of you that called or wrote your representatives, talked to your neighbors, and attended the many meetings. The ordinance is a true testament to citizen-power!

City council has also approved (November, 30th 2010) the code changes that MPC recommended, which makes keeping hens officially legal!


MPC Code Changes

A growing number of cities are allowing people to keep a small number of backyard hens. There are many reasons why people are keeping hens - A healthy source of eggs, education for the kids, food security for the family, pet companionship, and a good tool to turn compost into fertilizer for the garden.

Cities are also finding that backyard hens are building community ties - folks are looking over fence rows and asking what the neighbors are doing, eggs are shared and conversations are started.

We want to provide opportunities for city residents to feed their families safe healthy food from their own resources and yards. Backyard hens are one key link in creating sustainable urban systems.

Download MYTHS and FACTS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
and more FAQ

How to Find and Raise Backyard Hens


Hen at Our House (local)

The City Chicken

 How to Find and Raise Backyard Hens?

East Tennessee Chicken Lovers (Facebook page)

Omlet USA

backyard poultry magazine

McMurray Hatchery

Chuckey Chickens (regional)

Or talk to our local hen-care guru, Farmer John! - 687-0441.

Discussion Forum

Knox County Permit Renewal 2 Replies

Started by John & Kim Grubbs. Last reply by John & Kim Grubbs Jan 8, 2013.

Chickens in Maryville

Started by Minde Herbert Sep 16, 2012.

Building Permit Hoop Vs. Pre-Built Coop 1 Reply

Started by Anna Millman. Last reply by Chad Hellwinckel Sep 12, 2011.

Hens in Knox County 1 Reply

Started by bob boyle. Last reply by Becke A. Bogue Oct 10, 2013.

Done Deal 4 Replies

Started by Stephen Smith. Last reply by Stephen Smith May 29, 2011.

Going through the Hoops for Coops 11 Replies

Started by Stephen Smith. Last reply by Martha Rose Woodward Jun 19, 2011.

CAC Beardsley Farm Hen Workshop in May needs your help 2 Replies

Started by Elizabeth Moniz. Last reply by Michelle Reynolds Mar 20, 2011.


Started by Brandy. Last reply by Tracie L. Hellwinckel May 21, 2010.

New Info Re: Chris Woodhull and the Ordinance (action alert) 3 Replies

Started by Brandy. Last reply by Brandy May 13, 2010.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Knoxville Urban Hen Coalition to add comments!

Comment by laurence on December 11, 2014 at 5:41pm

Hi, all. We have a small flock available for relocation. Please share the word! Respond to the craigslist post if interested. Thanks!

Comment by Beardsley Community Farm on September 24, 2014 at 11:22am

Dear Knoxville Hen Coalition,

We are planning our annual Harvest Festival set for Saturday, October 25th, and are looking for various exhibitors.  Please contact us if you would be interested in having a table at our event .  The purpose would be to education the public (all ages) about raising hens, as well informing the public about the hen ordinance.  

Email us at or call 865-546-8446

thank you!

Beardsley Farm Team

Comment by Brian & Betsy Liebenow on April 30, 2014 at 1:23pm
After a disastrous attempt at raising chickens in Knoxville last year, we got some chicks at the Anderson County Co-op and tried it again:
Comment by Katie Allison Granju on October 22, 2013 at 9:11pm
Psyched that my site plan is ready to go to the building inspector. Here's a look-see:
Comment by Becke A. Bogue on October 10, 2013 at 1:44pm

Are any folks working to get an ordinance passed so we can have hens in Knox County, too? I haven't seen any chatter since 2011, but I'm new to this.  Any ideas as to what I can do or how I can help?

Comment by Brian & Betsy Liebenow on April 10, 2013 at 1:40pm
So, we live in west Knoxville, our coop is done, inspected and approved. We got our approval from Animal Control. Now, where is the best place to get chickens locally? We'd rather not raise them from baby chicks so we'd prefer pullets. Any suggestions? Thanks, -The Liebenow's
Comment by Chad Hellwinckel on April 8, 2013 at 9:11am

This is a good review of your chicken keeping options:

Comment by Ben Epperson on March 20, 2013 at 8:13am

Hey Everyone,

I have a friend in Mascot that is looking to turn his chickens into... food. 

He's willing to trade some meat or something else.

Anyone interested/know of a contact?

Contact me at



Comment by Minde Herbert on September 16, 2012 at 4:23pm

Hi all,

Just putting out the feelers to see if there is a City of Maryville resident organization that is similar to the Knoxville Urban Hen Coalition...  I want to get the process of legalizing chickens started in City of Maryville but don't want to reinvent the wheel if something already exists.  Any help/leads are appreciated.

-Minde Herbert


Affordably Organic - save, eat, thrive


Comment by Jake Livesay on May 29, 2012 at 7:35am

Thanks Valerie ... I got 6 khaki campbell ducklings from a guy in Loudon County a couple days ago.  Things are going well.


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