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Greater Denver Urban Homesteading Group Message Board Food Producing Animals › CHICKS IN THE CITY (Denver poultry permit)?

CHICKS IN THE CITY (Denver poultry permit)?

Ingrid M.
Denver, CO
Post #: 1
Hi there,

I have received my permits from Denver, and just to clarify, I needed 3 separate permits to have chickens. One, from zoning for $100 to "rezone" my residence to include hens. This permit was actually the fee for filling out a change of use form, available from the zoning department. With this form, I included letters of support from many neighbors and a diagram of my property and the proposed coop and run. I was told by zoning that if I had requested roosters, it may not be approved, so I did not request approval for any roosters. Plus, many of my neighbors, when I talked to them before requesting the permits, mentioned "just as long as you don't have roosters"! (Which I must say is a little unfair, considering I live two doors down from 2 beagles who have been known to bark into the wee hours of the night on occassion. The zoning change of use permit first requires that you post one bright pink sign in your front yard for 30 days that notifies your neighbors of your intent to have chickens. At this time, zoning sends an email to your neighborhood associations and to city council stating your intent and welcoming comment. Then, after 30 days, you are given a green sign that states your request has been approved (if it is approved) and that sign must be posted in your front yard for 15 days, I believe.

One permit was needed from animal control for $50 that specifies I can have up to 8 hens. This was a number I picked, and I could have requested approval for any number of hens. The animal control permit required that an animal control officer visit my property and inspect the location where the coop would be built (without the coop built yet).

Next, I had to get a $10 building permit to build my 6x6x9 ft. shed-like chicken coop, which is still in progress and my chicks are 3 weeks old, so I must get a move on!

It is my understanding the animal control permit must be renewed annually for $50 and I'm not sure if the zoning permit must be renewed, if so it is $20, I think.

I decided to go the legal route because I didn't want there to be any question whether I could keep the animals. Now, even if someone complains, I can show them my permit and explain that my chickens are here to stay!

Hope this helps clarify the process,

A former member
Post #: 4
Hi Ingrid,

Congratulations. It sounds like you have very agreeable and understanding neighbors. Unfortunately I have at least two neighbors that just can't be reasoned with. I went through all the steps you mentioned but still got denied because of these two complaining neighbors.

Can I ask what area of Denver you live. I am just interested to see which neighborhoods are having luck with Permits.


Kate from Congress Park
A former member
Post #: 4

Here is a link to an article on backyard chickens. Enjoy!


Denver, CO
Post #: 3
Wowzers...Nice Rant!

Obviously, I had no idea and appreciate all the input. However, having worked in the field of law for 20-years, I am not naive enough to believe the City will just "let it be" since Denver bothered to put those laws in place.

Time for change ~ I have pen-in-hand to sign Free our Backyards to Organic Gardens & Poultry petitions!


Are you going to post this petition? It would definitely be helpful to know who's applying and who's having any issues with this process.
A former member
Post #: 2
Is anyone raising chickens in the city of Golden? If so, did you actually get a permit? The code is difficult to dissect here in town. Any help would be appreciated.
user 5554546
Denver, CO
Post #: 1
I grew up in Denver, and always had chickens, including roosters. When I decided to get chickens again, 40 years later, I just couldn't believe they were illegal, or there was such a permit process. I have introduced them to one abutting neighbor who loves them, she also grew up with chickens. I am not going to wave a red flad to the city, by applying for a permit. Our babies are now 3/12 weeks old, and we are building their outside house this weekend. I think it's better just to go under the radar. I agree that someone has to take it to court and fight, but I don't think I can do that anymore.
Denver, CO
Post #: 7
We've been going through the same issue: should we just get our chickens and live our life on our private property or go through the expensive and overly bureaucratic process to be "legal."

We've decided to engage the city on this and work to change the rules which means we need to follow them until we're about to change this poor law.
user 8965006
Denver, CO
Post #: 7
Undocumented Denver chickens are in danger of seizure!

I received a phone call from a supporter two Saturdays ago who was at Animal Control and who saw agents carrying chickens into the facility. So I went down to Animal Control to investigate and I was told that undocumented chickens (remember: a chicken cannot be illegal) are seized regularly from people who do not want to fight the ticket by going to the Board of Adjustment (which is the only means by which an owner of undocumented chickens can keep them after being cited for violating the law). When I asked the fate of the chickens, the employee was vague and said that maybe they are sent outside of the City, but for details I must contact the Director, Doug Kelley.

So, more than one week ago I left a phone message and sent an email to the Director in an effort to find out how many chickens are seized, how often, from whom, and what is done with them. At this date he has not responded.

Most likely these chickens are seized from people who do not have the time, money or ability to navigate a complex bureaucratic procedure, i.e. an appeal to the Board of Adjustment. The professions of recent chicken owners going before the Board of Adjustment is telling of this: three medical doctors and one urban planner. My guess is that those who simply surrender their pets to Animal Control when busted are disproportionately minorities and poor, those who may be most in need of the protein supplied by their chickens.

I t would be great if someone was willing to set up a chicken sanctuary. The City would then be hard-pressed not to release the (doomed?) chickens to this sanctuary, and this would help to illustrate that this law should be changed.

James Bertini
303 572-3122
user 8969396
Denver, CO
Post #: 13
After waiting for what seemed like months, we finally got our letter of approval from Animal Control to keep six hens on my property. I went to zoning today and turned in my application and picked up the sign for my front yard. So fingers crossed that all goes well in the next 30 days. My neighbors on my street have been supportive and are all on board. The man at zoning did tell me that I would need a permit for the coop and that I could get that when I go back in 30 days to get the green "this has been approved and you have 15 days to appeal" sign. This process is so silly - a big shout out to the people who have been working to get it simplified - hope you are sucessful.
Denver, CO
Post #: 18
Marybeth, I had animal control out this week for a 3 minute "inspection" of our property and then spoke with Zoning afterward. They told me I didn't need a permit for the coop itself as long as it doesn't have a poured foundation. I'll be down in Zoning next week hopefully (though I may go to animal control to personally pick up my letter since they don't answer their phone).
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