Raising animals in the city

Q. Keeping Animals in Town?

I’m really enjoying your website- it has been such an encouragement to me! We recently moved from a 5 acre farm in OK, complete with dairy goats, pigs, calf, chickens, and ducks to a urban neighborhood in CO. I was initially very frustrated to be so limited here, but I am finding through your site that I can still do the things I was dreaming of out on the farm.

I am wondering how you are keeping the chickens & ducks in town. Does Pasadena just not have any regulations regarding livestock, or do you just ignore them? I would love to have chickens again, but not sure how that would go over here. Our neighborhood association does not specifically prohibit them, but the city municipal code does state that there is to be no
livestock within the city limits unless the zoning okays it. I guess they can just be pets? How have you handled this?

Thanks for all the time you put into your site! I would love to see an excel garden diary template on it as you’ve inspired me to be keeping track of all that information.


A. As you know, city zoning laws vary greatly throughout the nation. Surprisingly, Pasadena doesn’t have any very strict laws that I know of. Perhaps it’s because even though Pasadena is a major metropolis and “world- class” tourist city, it does have a sorta country feel to it. Well, at least on the outskirts of the city limits — possibly due to it being backed up against the LA national forest and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Los Angeles county laws (Pasadena is in LA county) states that five chickens or less can be kept without a permit so I feel that I can always claim to be under that law if I were ever faced with some sort of trouble about my chickens and ducks.

A long time ago (well, maybe it wasn’t *really* that long ago) we
wanted chickens to raise even before this Path Project but a city zoning officer told us it was against code. So, we gave up that idea until the Path Project was started years later. We called the city and asked them for any restrictions against chickens. No one really seemed to know but we specifically stated they would be pets and the lady we talked to said it was fine as long as we weren’t planning on being producers of eggs, meat, etc.

So we got five chickens, named them all and raised them as pets. To me they were always going to be pets as I love animals and found chickens to be absolutely delightful. In fact, I think they are too downright spoiled… but, what can ya do? We got the ducks (Dixie & Dawn) without even bothering to check city codes.

I find that most people ignore livestock in the city unless there is real cause to complain, i.e, loud roosters, stinky coops and pets, etc. etc.

You can really get in the good graces of your neighbors and city
officials by taking the time to make your coop attractive as we have done. Nobody even know there’s animals in our yard because our chicken coop blends so well and looks so nice. Have you seen the picture of it?

And because I clean out the coop every week, there is no smell or fly problem. The chickens and ducks are very quiet (unless they are excited or hungry!!!) so they don’t really attract attention. Most people always comment how they never wanted chickens because of the image they had in their head of roosters, smelly coops, and ratty chicken wire, until they visited our place. So it really does pay off to spend the extra time and money to make a special chicken coop.

I don’t want to get you in trouble with your city codes but honestly, I don’t think anyone would really care if you had a few chickens and ducks in your backyard. Also, raising them as pets really makes things smoother. Cities just don’t want someone raising chickens and selling them in a production.

Well, I hoped I helped you in that regard. Please feel free to ask away with any more questions if you have some!

About the garden diary – I would definitely recommend you do that. It really comes in handy to know the weather patterns, the harvest records and all that. My brother has a very detailed garden diary he records everything in and it has been very informative.

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  1. Krystal says:

    You mentioned that you clean your poultry coop once a week. I was wondering what you use for litter/bedding in their coop? Also, what size is your goat pen and what do you use for bedding in it? We already have a few chickens, but the winter weather has made a mess of the plain dirt floor. And we are planning on two Nigerian Dwarfs for next year. Thank you!

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