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De-Bunking 7 Common Myths About Keeping Chickens in Town

Loss of open land is the greatest threat to the future of all equestrian activities and businesses - even to the continued existence of horses themselves.

Horse-Friendly Zoning

California is one of only 5 states in the union that do not protect horse activities through Equine Activity Statutes




Below are links to - and summaries of - a variety of communities' livestock regulations.

NORCO, CALIFORNIA zoning of 5 horses per 1/2 acre

Marin County, California - proposed zoning regulations limiting horses and related livestock were dropped after public review.

MARIPOSA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: No Limits, so long as husbandry practices do not constitue a nuisance - horses protected under Right To Farm laws.



PINELLAS PARK/TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA: In 2004, the City & County around Pinellas Park, Florida wrestled with the same issues now facing Napa, recommending 8 horses per acre. Click the above link for the complete story.

ORANGE PARK ACRES, CALIFORNIA: 8 Horses per acre maximum (click link for full story, from 2005)

Cheryl Skigin, a member of Horses for Orange Park Acres, said her organization – which originally opposed the ordinance – was satisfied with the outcome of the vote.

Eight was not the right number, but it was a compromise number,” she said. “A lot of people who built their lives around keeping horses won’t have to be told they’ll have to get rid of them.”


One, two, or three horses per acre depending on type of zoning (residential, suburban, or rural; 20 poultry per acre)

DALLAS, TEXAS: Three horses per acre (1/3 acre per horse)

TWENTYNINE PALMS, CALIFORNIA: Up to 4 horses per acre - up to 10 with special permit

PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA:  3 hoofed animals, 20 chickens per acre

MORROW COUNTY, OREGON: two large hoofed animals, 6 smaller hoofed animals per acre

WOODSIDE, CALIFORNIA: 2 horses per acre, uses a Livestock Committee to advise the Planning Director on requests to keep more horses per acre.

WEBER COUNTY, UTAH: 4 horses per acre; Allows private Equestrian Training & boarding facilities on parcels of 5 acres or more at densities not to exceed 10 horses per acre.


Yuba County has a complex system of zones and sub-zones, each with its own specifications. All, however, allow liberal, unrestricted raising and keeping of livestock, with the exception of hogs, which are the focus of most of their restricitons on smaller parcels. It should be noted that limited livestock (including horses) are permitted even within areas zoned Medium-Density Residential, if the parcel is one acre or more in size.

The Three Rural Zoning types:

  1. AE - - - Exclusive Agriculture Zone, 10 acres and up: No limitations on animal densities or hooves-per-acre; Commercial sales yards, kennels, hunting & equestrian clubs, animal hospitals, riding schools and equestrian facilites are all permitted with a use permit

    10 acres, 40 acres &  80 acres Subzones:  - these vary in terms of how many buildings may be erected, but all allow unlimited agriculture including keeping liverstock including horses, whether or not for p[rofit. Hobby Kennels are allowed without restriction on parcels of 40 acres or more.

  2. A/RR - - Agricultural/Rural Residential Zone - Lot size not mspecified, only described as a zoning area whose purpose is:

    • To preserve the rural character and amenities of these lands best utilized for low density residential development.

    • No limitations on Livestock and fowl farming including raising, maintaining, and breeding of horses, cattle, hogs, rabbits, chickens and similar livestock.  The keeping of hogs shall not include more than one brood sow. Any additional brood sows shall constitute a hog farm and shall require a conditional Use Permit.

  3. RRE - - Rural Residential Estate Zone: Lot sizes under 10 acres:
    The Rural Residential Estate Zone is intended to provide low density residential development to preserve the rural character and amenities of certain areas, and to allow limited numbers of animals to be kept for noncommercial purposes. Rural residential estate lots (minimum size of one (1) acre also serve as a transition between standard residential density development and agricultural lands.

    Hogs are not allowed on parcels below 1 acre. All other livestock is permitted, with regulations restricting corrals and barns to areas not with a certain distance of the parcel's borders. Riding academies and commercial stables are permitted with a use permit.
  4. NOTE ALSO: R-2  - Residential Medium Density:

    The keeping of livestock and fowl shall be permitted on any parcel of 1 acre or larger and shall conform to the following formula:

    • Chickens, rabbits and 100 per acre similar small animals

    • Horses, cattle, sheep, goats, 5 per acre and similar livestock, including hogs as further restricted as follows:

    • Hogs, except no more than 2 for each acre up one brood sow to 5, 5 for each acre thereafter

    No barn, coop, stable, or corral shall be located closer than 50 feet to any abutting dwelling

MORAGA, CALIFORNIA - a suburban bedroom community in the Bay Area, allows only 2 horses per acre, and you must own a full acre to have a horse.


Sonoma County has a complex zoning code for rural and suburban areas, each with its own requirements and restrictions.

Sonoma County has 2-horse-per acre maximum without a permit for parcels of 2 acres or less. Getting a permit for more animals is largely a revenue-producing program on the part of the County, not an avenue for discouraging people from owning farm animals. The permittee does not, in most cases, have to make expensive improvements, like extra parking and public restroom facilities, or to pay excessive fees.

Sonoma County has a MUCH more liberal law in terms of other types of livestock than horses (for instance, chickens are permitted - without a use permit - at 100 per acre)

Sonoma County also includes equestrian clubs, equestrian boarding and training facilities, and equestrian competition facilities within their definition of acceptable agricultural use (may require a use permit, but they are a "conforming use." When the Napa Valley Horsemen's Association was faced with annexation by the City, it found it had no place to go, since equestrian clubs are not an allowed AW use in Napa County)

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Quick Facts:

Napa County citizens participate in the raising of all species of livestock for farm income and for personal satisfaction, as a time-honored part of country living

Horses & all other livestock contribute to the economy and well-being of the people of Napa County

Napa differs from neighboring counties in its land use and zoning laws, due to Napa's extensive emphasis upon wine-growing: Most rural land that is available to families and individuals, rather than large wine-growing companies, is small acreage parcels of 1/2 to 5 acres.


Many people choose to live in Napa County precisely for those small acreage parcels, where they can keep horses and other livestock

Horses and other livestock are an asset to the country ambience of a neighborhood

Both residents and visitors to Napa enjoy seeing horses, cows, chickens, goats and sheep, etc.

Any law limiting horse ownership to a set number per acre would suddenly force an estimated 900 horses out of their homes - where will they go? Does the County really want the forced surrender of beloved family horses to the slaughterhouses of Mexico on their conscience?