San Francisco Environment Department

Regulations on the Keeping of Chickens and Other Small Animals by the San Francisco Department of Public Health

Hosting four or fewer chickens (or combination of small animals) in residential districts does not require any special permits, according to the San Francisco’s Department of Public Health. Regulations include the following guidelines and requirements to ensure appropriate compliance.

The combination of four or fewer small animals legally allowed includes:

  • Dogs of age six months or older unless part of a dog kennel
  • Hares, rabbits, guinea pigs
  • Rats, mice, gerbils
  • Chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, doves, pigeons, game birds of any species or cats

The small animals must be kept in coops and enclosures approved by the director of Public Health. The coops and enclosures must be 20 feet from any door, window, or human habitat. The animal keeping may not be for commercial purposes in residential districts. In industrial and commercial districts, small animals may not be kept for commercial purposes unless a proper permit is secured from the Department of Public Health. 

Photo: Kristine Paulus

city seal png