Keeping Chickens in California

Keeping Chickens in California

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Did you know that homegrown chicken eggs are fresher than those one buys at the  supermarket and far less likely to be contaminated by salmonella? Homegrown eggs have much more beta carotene than their factory-raised counterparts. They also have less cholesterol and saturated fat and more vitamin e. Those who eat homegrown eggs claim that these eggs also taste significantly better than commercial eggs. Considering how easy and economical it is to raise your own chickens for eggs, there’s no wondering why this hobby is becoming increasingly popular. Here’s what you need to know if you wish to keep chickens in California.

San Diego, California Chicken Regulations

Chickens are allowed with the San Diego city limits. In late January, 2012, the San Diego city council unanimously voted to allow backyard chickens, goats, and bees. Single-family homes, community gardens, and retail farms are all allowed to raise chickens within city limits. Most single family homes can keep up to 5 chickens, so long as the chicken coop is kept 5 feet from side property lines and 13 feet from rear property lines. If the coop is kept 15 feet from all property lines, up to 15 chickens are allowed. If there’s at least 50 feet between the coop and other homes, up to 25 chickens may be kept. No roosters are allowed and each chicken must have at least 10 square feet of living space. Chicken coops must be kept clean and ventilated. An outdoor enclosure must be kept to keep the chickens out of neighboring properties and safe from predators. Chicken food must be stored in rat-proof containers and chicken droppings should be cleaned at least once weekly to minimize smell.

Los Angeles, California Chicken Regulations

In Los Angeles, a chicken coop can be no closer than 25 feet from one’s own house and 35 feet from any neighboring residences. Roosters are allowed. There does not appear to be a restriction as to the number of chickens one can keep on their property, so long as one keeps them the required distance from neighboring homes.  Their lax restrictions makes Los Angeles a very chicken-friendly city to live in. As always, be sure to check with your homeowner’s association before building a coop.

Widely Varying Chicken Regulations

Despite the popularity of backyard chickens, not all Californian cities have joined the sustainable food movement. San Dimas, Ontario, Whittier, San Gabriel, and Montebello are just a few cities in California that ban chickens in residential living areas. Long Beach is extremely restrictive too, as is Irvine and El Cerrito. In each of these cities, councils and committees are fighting to lift or at least lessen these restrictions.

Cities that already allow chickens include Pasadena, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Marino, Monterey Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, Berkley, Lafayette, and Glendora. Each of these cities has its own zoning requirements and many restrict the number of chickens that can legally be kept on a property. Be sure to check with your local government before purchasing chicks. For a complete list of California cities and their chicken rules and regulations, check out:


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