In January 2012, the City of San Diego amended its Municipal Code to allow residents of single-family homes, community gardens and retail farms to keep and maintain chickens. The specific regulations are in Section 42.0709 and can be found by downloading the following provision: Chapter 04, Article 02, Division 07, Animals and Poultry.
The number of chickens that may be kept on your property is based on how far the chicken coop is from your property lines (zone setback). Generally, most single-family homes in the city of San Diego would be allowed up to five chickens provided the chicken coop were in the rear yard, 5 feet from side property lines and 13 feet from the rear property line.
For specific information regarding the zone setback for your property, go to the Zoning Map application and type in your address. You will then receive the zone name for your property. A link to “More Info” takes you to another page that directs you to the regulations for your zone. When viewing the regulations, go to the Development Regulations Table for your zone and look up “Setback Requirements.”
You can also call the City’s Development Services Department at 619-446-5000, provide your address and request the name of your zone and the zoning setback information. Someone will return your call and provide you with the information.
There are several benefits that come with raising backyard chickens.
Please keep in mind there are health risks that can result from handling chickens or anything in the areas they occupy. Young children and those with immune impairment are especially at risk. Chickens may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies even though they appear healthy. Salmonella can make people sick with diarrhea and fever, often with vomiting and abdominal cramps.
There are several ways you can reduce these risks:
Chickens may be kept and maintained on property of a single-family residence, a community garden or a retail farm in accordance with the following:
As with any animal, chickens can be “dirty” if they are not properly cared for. A chicken that is properly cared for is just as clean as a well-cared for dog or cat.
Roosters are noisy and prohibited. A hen will cackle at times during the day, and will occasionally squawk, but these, and most other sounds, are not very loud, and are quieter than most everything else that occurs in the surrounding neighborhood. Hens sleep once it is dark.
Yes. Chickens have a strong social structure.
No. Without a rooster, hens will still lay eggs. Roosters are only necessary to create fertile eggs. Non-fertile eggs are as nutritious as fertile eggs.
Typically, hens will start to lay when they are 5 to 6 months of age.
Peak production generally occurs at 2 years of age and slowly declines thereafter. For this reason, it is a good practice to vary the ages of your hens so that the older hens may “retire” while the younger ones continue to produce eggs.
The typical life expectancy seems to be 5 to 10 years depending on care and protection from predators.
It makes excellent compost, especially when combined with materials high in carbon such as the shavings, straw and sawdust which are often used for litter. The mixture of these makes a balanced mixture for a compost pile.
Chicken, goats and other animal waste can adversely affect water quality. Be sure to properly dispose of all animal waste regularly, especially before it rains to prevent runoff from entering our storm drain system and local waterways. When washing down animal pens, please be sure the wastewater is directed to landscaped areas or to the sewer system. Animal waste contains high levels of bacteria and nutrients that can be harmful to humans and water quality