IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -

After being debated on and off in recent years, Iowa City residents may soon learn if they can have backyard chickens.

The City Council on Tuesday is to hold a public hearing and first consideration of two ordinances. One would amend a zoning ordinance for accessory uses and buildings to allow for chicken coops. The other deals specifically with the rules for having chickens.

The proposals come with a flock of regulations -- no more than four hens, and only in the backyards of single-family homes, and no roosters, slaughtering or selling of eggs.

A permit would be required, and applicants would have to notify next-door neighbors.

Several hundred people signed a backyard chicken petition in 2009, but the council scratched it from a list of issues to consider.