Backyard chickens now can be kept as pets in Social Circle

The effort to get backyard chickens in Social Circle was a joint effort by residents in the city, led largely by Christal Presley. It picked up support in March after she registered a petition on, soliciting more than 111 signatures. Last week, Presley was able to herald the success of the drive when Social Circle approved a new ordinance classifying chickens as domestic pets and allowing up to 12 on a property of an acre or more. Smaller lots can have chickens too, depending on the size, and even a property as small as 1/4 acre can keep three chickens. Roosters, however, are not included. Up until last week, chickens were only permitted legally in Social Circle in areas that were zoned agricultural.

“I am thrilled to report that as of 8:30 p.m. tonight, chickens are now legal in the City of Social Circle,” Presley wrote on her Facebook page following the May 16 Social Circle City Council meeting, adding that although she and her wife are in the process of moving to a farm out of state, she is happy that other Social Circle residents will now be able to keep their chickens. “I am so happy that the people in our community will be able to keep their beloved pets–and that more people here will be able to ‘discover’ chickens.”

An amendment to the ordinance split the definition of “livestock,” adding as household pets “animals weighing less than 150 pounds and cared for by the household and which are not livestock.” There are, however, provisions in the ordinance related to keeping chickens as household pets. They can only be kept as pets or for egg-laying production and cannot be kept for slaughter. The chickens or eggs cannot be sold on the property and the chickens have to be prevented from straying from the property. Also, this only applies to chickens – guinea hens, peacocks and geese are not permitted under this definition. Depending on the size of the property, chickens from as many as three up to a maximum of 12 can be kept under specified conditions.

Sizes are:

  • No chickens on a lot less than 8,700 square feet
  • On a lot 8,700 square feet or more – up to 3 pet chickens
  • On a lot 15,000 square feet or more – up to 6 pet chickens
  • On a lot 25,000 square feet or more – up to 9 pet chickens
  • On a lot on 1 acre or more – up to 12 pet chickens

The full ordinance will be posted on the website in the next few days and a link will be added at that time. It gives all the housing requirements.


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