Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Planning & Development

Keeping of Domestic Bees and Fowl

Domestic Beekeeping

Bees. The keeping of honeybees in the yards of single family residences or duplexes located in any zoning district is a permitted use, if the use complies with the following:

  • Each residential lot shall be allowed to have at least six (6) hives per lot.
  • For residential lots over 10,000 square feet, no more than one hive per 1,600 square feet of lot area is permitted.
  • A supply of water shall be provided for all hives.
  • A flyway barrier at least six (6) feet in height shall shield any part of a property line that is within twenty-five (25) feet of a hive. The flyway barrier shall consist of a wall, fence, dense vegetation or a combination thereof and it shall be positioned to transect both legs of a triangle extending form an apex at the hive to each end point of the part of the property line to be shielded.
  • Hives shall be within the rear or side yard, and must be at least four (4) feet from any property line.
  • Hives shall not be closer than twenty-five (25) feet to any principal residence on an adjacent lot.
  • The minimum required setback to any lake, river, stream, or wetland is seventy-five (75) feet.

Domestic Fowl

The keeping of up to 8 female chickens, ducks, or quail, collectively domestic fowl, is a permitted use on any single family residential lot in any zoning district in Dane County.

To ensure that the keeping of domestic fowl is done in a responsible manner that protects the public health, safety, and welfare and avoids conflicts with neighboring uses, Dane County Zoning enforces the following requirements:

  • Roosters are prohibited.
  • No slaughtering of domestic fowl shall occur on a residential property.
  • Fowl must have access to a covered enclosure.
  • Fowl may not roam free and must be kept in a covered enclosure or fenced enclosure at all times.
  • Such enclosures must be clean, dry, and odor-free, and kept in a manner that will not disturb the use or enjoyment of adjacent lots.

Dane County Zoning permits are required prior to placing covered residential chicken enclosures on properties. The table below provides the requirements for such structures:

Standards for Domestic Fowl Covered Enclosure Permit. *Larger enclosures may be permitted, but will be considered residential accessory buildings and permitted as such.

Permit required Yes
Zoning district All residential
Residence required Yes
Location Within rear and/or side yards
Maximum size 120 square feet*
Maximum height 12 feet
Setback to any property line 4 feet
Setback to any adjoining lot's residential structure 25 feet
Setback to water of any lake, river, or stream 75 feet
Permit fee $15.00
Domestic Fowl Zoning Permit Application