In September 2012, the Santa Rosa City Council approved changes to the Zoning Code to allow hen keeping in residential areas. 

Are “back yard” chickens allowed in Santa Rosa?

Hen keeping (female chickens) is allowed on any lot in a residential zoning district, or in conjunction with any residential use in any other district.  Male chickens (roosters) are not allowed. There are specific rules regarding how many hens may be kept on a lot, where the coop can be located, and how the property must be maintained.

How many hens are allowed on my property?

The maximum number of hens allowed on each residential property is based on the size of the lot in square feet.

Lots 5,000 square feet or less

Lots 5,001 - 10,000 square feet

Lots 10,001 - 43,560 square feet

Lots over one acre



6 hens per 10,000 sq ft of lot area up to 12 hens

6 hens per 10,000 square feet of lot area up to 30 hens

 Where can I keep hens on my property? What else is required?

Hens must be kept in a securely fenced area within the rear yard of the residential property.

A coop and pen are required.  The coop must be placed a minimum of 20 feet from habitable structures on adjacent properties.  This is to ensure space between neighbors’ living space and the coop.  Greater distances are encouraged where practicable.  The coop and pen must be designed, constructed, and maintained such that the hens are securely contained in the rear yard of the residence.

The coop shall comply with the following development standards:

Setbacks for Six or Fewer Hens. The coop shall be set back a minimum of five feet from side or rear property lines.

Setbacks for More than Six Hens.  For keeping of more than six hens, the coop shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from side or rear property lines.

Coop Height. Coops shall be no taller than eight feet in height.

 In addition, maintenance of the coop and pen is required to ensure clean and sanitary conditions. All enclosures shall be constructed and maintained to prevent rats or other rodents from being harbored underneath, within, or within the walls of the enclosure. All feed and other items associated with hen keeping shall be managed to minimize contact with rodents.

I live in an area zoned “Planned Development.”  Can I keep hens?

Yes. The Animal Keeping regulations of Section 20-42.040 apply to all residential Planned Development districts.

Are farm animals such as hogs, mules, goats, ducks, rooster, and pigeons allowed anywhere in Santa Rosa?

Livestock farming is allowed in areas of Santa Rosa zoned Rural Residential on lots that are at least 20,000 square feet in size. See Section 20-42.040 for detailed guidance.

Where can I find a copy of the full text of the Animal Keeping regulations?

See Section 20-42.040 of the Zoning Code. All of the City's animal keeping rules are outlined in this section.