The plight of urban chickens in Keizer got a little brighter Monday night, as the Keizer City Council opted to further study the issue.

At a Monday, Jan. 31 work session councilors signaled interest in allowing chickens in more areas throughout the city. They asked city staff to come back with a proposal. Currently chickens are considered an farm animal – as opposed to a pet – and thus are only allowed in zones allowing agricultural uses.

Policies on urban chickens vary depend on the city you call home. Recently more cities have adopted policies permitting residents to have chickens in their yard.

Beaverton, Bend, Cannon Beach and Forest Grove allow four hens, with Dallas allowing five. Salem, Portland and Gresham allow three, and Eugene only two, although residents are petitioning there for unlimited hens. Corvallis even allows roosters. Setback and permit requirements vary by city:

• Bend requires a $100 farm animal permit, and coops must be at least 25 feet from adjacent dwellings.

• Eugene and Gresham also require a 25-foot setback from adjacent dwellings, while Beaverton, Salem and Forest Grove require a 20-foot setback. In Cannon Beach the setback is 15 feet.

• Several of the cities set minimum lot sizes and setbacks from adjacent property owners.

• Salem requires a coop be kept 10 feet away from the owner’s house.

Other cities considering loosening restrictions on urban chickens include Silverton and Independence.