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Are backyard chickens allowed in Salinas?

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV) UPDATE Jan. 19, 2022 at 10 a.m. Backyard chickens will not be allowed in Salinas.

The City Council voted 5-2 to not pass the ordinance that would allow people to legally have chickens on their properties within Salinas City limits.

Council Member Steve McShane said the city's lack of animal control resources led to this decision.


The vote to allow people to legally have chickens on their property within the Salinas city limits was postponed Tuesday evening during the City Council meeting. The ordinance had been previously proposed in November of 2020, but the city decided not to move forward.

“It seems ludicrous that a city, whose fortunes are tied to agriculture actively disallows people from keeping chickens in their yards,” said Mary Duan, Salians resident and property owner.

Other cities throughout Monterey County, including Marina, Seaside, Monterey, and Pacific Grove, already allow property owners to have chickens. So why the delay in Salinas?

“We have a history of illegal cockfighting. We have a history of large numbers of chickens grown in certain yards. We have overcome that, we have grown up as a city, we’re more modern,” mentioned City Council member Steve McShane, District 3.

If it passes next week, on Dec. 14, it would allow people to own up to four hens, but no roosters.

"This is a step in the right direction as far as giving permission to residents to have chickens legally," said Leticia Hernandez, Salinas resident.

Keeping the number of chickens to a minimum helps with odor control, rodent, and noise issues. The ordinance is a long time coming for the community and many have welcomed the idea for years.

"I'm 100% for chickens I've been bugging the city about for decades. Their good pets, they’re a good way to get children interested in their food, with the eggs. They are not difficult to keep. And they are fun to have around," continued Duan.

There are also property size requirements which for some who wish to raise chickens, say isn’t enough.

“They do put a lot of size requirements of 5,500 square feet and I fall just right below that. So still chickens would not be accessible to me personally," added Hernandez.

Chicken coops also need to be set back at least 10 feet from all property lines to avoid disturbing neighbors.

“We’re at a point now where growing and raising our own food is a real positive thing,” said Councilmember McShane.

While Chickens may be kept at home they cannot be slaughtered there, and the eggs from the chickens cannot be sold. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t share those eggs with others.

There would be an annual permit and license you would have to buy. The proposed permit fee is $150.94. That permit fee would allow city staff to educate future chicken owners of the regulations, and provide recommendations for constructing proper coops.

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.


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