Urban Hen Demonstration


Why do we have chickens?  These ladies help us in the garden by gobbling up vegetable scraps and garden pests.  Their manure is safely composted to use as a soil amendment in our ornamental beds. They’re a favorite with visitors of all ages, but especially with our young visitors.  Children in our weekly Story Thyme helped us name the hens, and like to check on them while they tend the garden.

But most importantly, the Urban Hen Demonstration is an example for how to keep chickens in your own yard.  Our coop and chicken run model best practices for visitors coming to the Garden.

Are you a Knoxville resident who’d like to keep hens?

First, you should review all of the rules on the City’s Application to Keep Domesticated Hens to make sure that you can meet all of the criteria listed.

Next, you will need to apply for a building permit with the City of Knoxville’s Department of Operations, Plans Review & Inspections DivisionThey will review your building plans and provide information for scheduling an inspection.  There are a lot of interesting plans for building a coop and run.  Our coop is based on an HGTV design.

After your coop is built and the plans review folks have completed their inspection and approved the building, save the green piece of paper issued during the inspection.  That needs to be included with your Application to Keep Domesticated Hens, along with a map of your property (easily obtained from KGIS).  You’ll also need to identify who your hens’ veterinarian will be for the application.

Your application will be reviewed by the Animal Control Board.  Wait until you receive confirmation that your application is approved before purchasing any hens.

Thank you to our Community Partners!




2743 Wimpole Avenue | Knoxville, TN 37914 | p: 865.862.8717 | f: 865.862.8721
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