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Orange County California

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Anyone know about the laws regarding chickens in orange county california?

post #2 of 32

Welcome to BYC!

I think  it depends on what city you're in.  I had chickens in Newport and others here have them in Costa Mesa.

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

I am in Trabuco Canyon but we are I guess technically part of Rancho Santa Margarita, numerous neighbors of mine keep chickens, but none of us really know for sure

post #4 of 32

I'm in Mission Viejo,

Anyone know how to change a city ordinance! Or, anyone want to get a group together to change the the law?

post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 

Ok so I was able to get a hold of the municipal code for my city.  I did a text search in the electronic document for chickens and returned with 0 information.  Next I tried poultry and this is what I was able to find. 

Sec. 5.12.700.  Livestock fences.
Every owner, keeper, custodian or harborer of livestock shall erect and/or maintain a fence as herein described to contain and confine all livestock kept or maintained on his or her property. Such fence shall be sufficiently good, strong and substantial as to prevent the ingress and egress of livestock. No wire fence is a good and substantial fence within the meaning of this Section unless it has three tightly stretched barbed wires securely fastened to posts of reasonable strength, firmly set into the ground not more than one rod apart, one of which wires shall be at least four feet above the surface of the ground. Any kind of wire or other fence of height, strength and capacity equal to or greater than the wire fence herein described is a good and substantial fence within the meaning of this Section. Cattle guards of such width, depth, rail spacing and construction as will effectively turn livestock are also a good and substantial fence.

The definition of livestock according to my city is "Livestock  shall be defined as any domesticated poultry, cattle, goats, swine, sheep and equines which are kept in captivity or under the control or ownership of any person for any purpose. " 

Nowhere does it provide specific details on how many chickens can be kept though....what do you guys interpret from this?  Do you think I am legal?

post #6 of 32

I am in Fountain Valley,

I found that chickens are located under "fowl".

Apparently they are not allowed anywhere in FV.   BUT...here is the ordinance...

21.30.040 Keeping of animals and fowl.

    The purpose of this section is to ensure that the raising, keeping and maintenance of animals would not create an adverse impact on surrounding properties by reason of negative impacts (e.g., bright lights, dust, fumes, insect infestations, noise, odor or visual blight) by providing standards for maintaining the animals. Animal keeping uses shall comply with the requirements of this section and other applicable provisions of this code.

    (1)    Regulations. The keeping or maintaining of livestock, fowl or other animals of any kind shall not be allowed in any subdivision except as provided below.

    (2)    Dogs and Cats. A maximum of three dogs and/or cats over six months of age shall be allowed as an accessory use.

    (3)    Other Household Pets. The keeping of other household pets shall be allowed of a type readily classifiable as being customarily incidental and accessory to an allowed principal residential use when no commercial activity is involved. (Ord. 1308 § 5 (part), 2000)

SO...with that in mind, it is my understanding that I can have "fowl" (chickens) IF/WHEN NO COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY IS INVOLVED.  Right? 

I called code enforcement to clarify this and I was told that absolutely NO "fowl"/chickens are allowed in FV.  THAT does NOT go along with the ordinance though.  I am now trying to find out WHO to speak with and write to in order to have 2 chickens in our backyard.

So, we shall see.

post #7 of 32

Okay, so here after my dilligent search I have found the following information on having chickens in OC CA:

http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stuscaodgilroy_orangecounty.htm#orangecounty

Sec. 4.20. Swine, bees, chickens, roosters, peafowl, ostriches and other "Ratitae," and livestock prohibited except in agricultural zones.

(a)     It is unlawful for any person to keep, maintain or permit to be maintained bees, swine, llamas, roosters, chickens, pigeons, turkeys, pea fowl, water fowl, ostriches and other "Ratitae," or livestock on any premises within the city that have not been zoned for agricultural use. The term "swine" as used herein does not include pot-bellied pigs harbored in strict accordance with restrictions related to noise or sanitation as provided in this chapter.

(b)     It is unlawful for any person to construct, establish, conduct or maintain or cause to be constructed, established or maintained, or engage in, except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, any dairy, stock yard or stock corral, cattle ranch, rabbit or poultry ranch, or public stable, on any premises not zoned for agricultural use. Where such uses are existing on the effective date of this ordinance, then such use shall be allowed to continue as a nonconforming use.

(Ord. No. 95-9, §§ 2, 3, 5-1-95; Ord. No. 98-1, § II, 1-5-98)

sad

That being read, I cannot have chickens (legally) in Fountain Valley.

post #8 of 32

Don't go so fast! If you live in Fountain Valley, then you need to comply with Fountain Valley regulations. Although it says you cannot keep any livestock there, it does say you can have pets. You can make the argument that 2-6 chickens in the backyard are being kept as pets. I grew up in OC, so I know a little about how things work there. The Orange County regulations that you cited below the FV regs are certainly only referring to areas of the county that are unincorporated. All incorporated cities in the county follow their own laws. So you still have a bit of legal wiggle-room, in my opinion. I think you can keep chickens as "pets," but you should also move to have the FV livestock provision amended to allow small flocks of non-commercial hens for personal use. This is exactly what was done recently in Providence, RI, where I now live. Good luck!

owner of sophisticated, urban hens
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owner of sophisticated, urban hens
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post #9 of 32

In my opinion, if you're unsure about the regulations, try contacting the people who will enforce the code if there's any complaints.  Regardless of what you think the regulations allow, those are the people who are going to give you the most grief about it if they need to.  If they say no chickens allowed, then I wouldn't have chickens unless I'm willing to fight about it.  So, if you want to pressure your town or city to allow poultry as pets or personal use, then try to get the ordinances changed or clarified before you get your chickens.   And, make sure you get your OK in writing.


Edited by desertdarlene - 11/10/10 at 5:54pm

Killdeers, phoebes and finches (My bird blog)

God bless baby killdeers and ducklings   

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Killdeers, phoebes and finches (My bird blog)

God bless baby killdeers and ducklings   

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post #10 of 32

I live in Fountain Valley too...

A year or two ago I called the city code enforcement to ask if I could have a chicken (Hen) and was told, "No".

I knew for a fact that a family had a pet goose, and that code enforcement knew about it (they walked it around the neighborhood on a leash).  So I asked them why the goose was allowed but not a chicken.  After a slight pause, I repeated the question, and was told that the goose lived inside with them.

I laughed and said, "so, if my chickens live inside with me - then it's ok?"  The said they cannot enforce the code if the pet lives inside the home.

Our conversation took many "what if" roads, but in the end they said you can't have chickens living outside.

Call them and ask if you can have a hamster, or a bird.  The code clearly states no animals except dogs and cats, but never states anything about animals that live inside.

If you want to start a petition to allow small flocks (3 or 4 hens - no roosters) like most cities have (including Huntington Beach) then let me know, and I will be right there with you!

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