Birds And The Bees: Backyard Farm Animal Allowance In Novato
Birds And The Bees: Backyard Farm Animal Allowance In Novato

Birds And The Bees: Backyard Farm Animal Allowance In Novato

NOVATO, CA — Novato has something you won’t find in most California cities: a patchwork of backyard farms bringing a taste of the countryside to the suburbs.

If you want to build a backyard farm for a brood of hens, Novato has you covered.

Egg prices across the country are hitting an all-time high. To combat those prices, raising chickens may be an excellent way to go. Patch looked into the city of Novato’s most recent provisions regarding raising hens in city limits.

Find out what's happening in Novatowith free, real-time updates from Patch.

NOTE: Novato neighborhoods are split into multiple zones, requiring different permits for residents to keep different types of animals. Residents will need to check their zone to make sure which rules apply.

Under the most recent provision of animal keeping, in Novato, residents can have five or fewer household pets, including cats, dogs, potbelly pigs weighing less than 80 pounds, and other non-poisonous small animals within each zoning district. Special permits are required for kennel or boarding and maintaining more than 12 small animals, large animals, hogs and swine, and fowl and poultry, a city spokesperson said.

Find out what's happening in Novatowith free, real-time updates from Patch.

How many chickens would be suitable for your backyard coop?

In Novato, up to 12 hens are allowed per home. To keep backyard chickens homes must be on a minimum lot area of 5,000 square feet and have a minimum setback of 10 feet.

Some fowl, however, run afoul of Novato’s backyard farm regulations. Roosters, quacking ducks, guinea fowl, or peafowl are not allowed within city limits.

That goes for your honey, too.

At this time, backyard beekeeping in Novato is not allowed within city boundaries, according to Vicki Parker, Community Development Director of the City of Novato.

Though residents lobbied for an increase in permissions for keeping bees in 2021, prospective beekeepers were disappointed. “The city council chose not to adopt bee-keeping regulations, so it remains unallowable in the city.”

City leaders consider a backyard flock more than enough for a city farmer.

Furthermore, If your birds have offspring, they are allowed at any number until weaned.

Limiting your backyard hen brood will help you keep down on the dust, noise, visual blight, odor, fumes, bright lights, and insect infestations, all addressed in the city’s municipal code. Also, according to experts, your chickens will be happier with more room to roost. Happy chickens tend to lay more eggs, and most hens will lay for up to two years though they can live much longer.

According to the city’s municipal code, there are additional standards specific to keeping chickens in Novato.

Animal enclosures must be at least 25 feet from the neighbors’ homes.
Both a henhouse and a pen is required. Chickens are not allowed to roam freely on the property.
Owners must maintain responsible, sanitary, and humane conditions at all times. Owners must provide birds with proper food, water, shelter, and sanitation.
Click Here: Ruben Dias Jersey SaleHen houses must have proper roofs and protection from the weather and predators. Overcrowding is not allowed; owners should account for four square feet of living space per hen within the enclosure.

After all of the rules, is putting in a backyard chicken farm worth it?

Aside from the charm of hearing them cluck around and the joy of finding eggs in your chicken coop egg boxes, there are costs associated with raising chickens.

Each hen lays about one egg every 24 hours, according to

Owners can expect about a dozen eggs a week if they keep three to four hens. After you figure in the price of feed, upkeep, and maintenance expenses, prospective Novato backyard chicken farmers may consider buying eggs from your local farmer’s market a better investment.

But for some in Novato, it’s not so much about dollars in cents. It’s the lifestyle that is priceless.

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.