Frequently Asked Questions

Prepared by Sustainable Food Denver (www.sustainablefooddenver.org)
Note: Throughout this document, the term Food-Producing Animals
is often abbreviated as “FPAs.”
The following is a list of questions that are answered in this document.
General Food Producing Animals Information
What are Food-Producing Animals?
Why would someone want to raise FPAs in their backyard?
If you want to live this way, why don’t you just move to the country?
How are urban residents going to learn how to properly care for these animals?
About the Proposed Food-Producing Animals Ordinance, and Community
Concerns
Will this ordinance make fowl and dwarf goats “legal” in Denver?
Can you tell me a little about the current system that’s in place?
What’s wrong with the current system?
What are the main things that the proposed ordinance would change?
Would this ordinance take the neighborhood organizations out of the process?
Will FPAs in the city decrease my property value?
Would I need to get a license in order to have FPAs?
Eight chickens sounds like a lot. Why so many?
Will the city become overrun with chickens, ducks, and dwarf goats?
Shouldn’t the city impose some kind of limit on the total number of animals (dogs, cats,
chickens, goats, etc) you can have as an accessory use?
Why are only dwarf goats allowed, and not the full-sized version?
What can a neighbor do if there is a problem with smell, noise, or animals being cared for
improperly?
Is slaughtering allowed in residential districts?
What if someone wanted to sell eggs or milk from their animals?
How much space am I required to have for my fowl and/or dwarf goats?
What kind of shelter is required under the ordinance?
Are there any rules about where the animals’ shelter has to be located?
Are there any rules about fencing for the animals?
What about the animals themselves? Where can they venture on my property?
Has Denver ever passed an ordinance similar to this one? How did that work out?
Are there other cities that have Food-Producing Animal rules similar to what Denver is
considering?
Has anyone done a study on the effects of allowing Food-Producing Animals like
chickens in an urban setting?
How can we be sure that passing the ordinance won’t create a big problem?
Isn’t there a ballot initiative in the works to allow chickens? (And what will happen if
City Council doesn’t pass the FPA ordinance?)

What is the timeline for getting the FPA ordinance passed?
Basic Information About Food-Producing Animals
Fowl (Hen Chickens & Ducks)
What kinds of fowl are allowed under the new ordinance?
How large are fowl?
Do fowl make a lot of noise?
Do small urban flocks smell bad?
Do urban fowl attract predators to the neighborhood?
Do small urban flocks carry diseases?
How many eggs does a flock of chickens or ducks lay each day?
Is fowl manure toxic?
Are fowl a threat to children?
Are fowl able to fly over fences?
What are the benefits to owning fowl, besides eggs?
Dwarf Goats
What do you mean by “dwarf goats?”
How big are dwarf goats?
Is there a restriction on the gender of the goats?
Do dwarf goats make a lot of noise?
Do dwarf goats smell bad?
Do dwarf goats carry diseases?
If goats need vaccinations, then why isn’t that required in the ordinance?
How much milk does a dwarf goat produce?
Is dwarf goat manure toxic?
Are dwarf goats a threat to children?
Are dwarf goats able to jump over fences?
What are the benefits to owning dwarf goats, besides milk?

Caring For Food-Producing Animals
Fowl (Chickens & Ducks)
How much space do fowl need?
Are the minimum space requirements adequate to raise fowl in a healthy and safe way?
What should I know about choosing a shelter for my fowl?
Do ducks need water to play in?
What do fowl eat?
How do I dispose of the manure from my fowl?
How long do fowl live?
How long do fowl lay eggs?
What are my options once my fowl stop laying eggs?
What if I decide I no longer want to keep my fowl?

Dwarf Goats
Is it ok if I just own one dwarf goat instead of two?
How much space do dwarf goats need?
What do dwarf goats eat?
How do I dispose of the manure from my dwarf goats?
Do goats have to have babies to produce milk?
How many babies does a goat typically have at once?
How will I find homes for the babies?
How long do dwarf goats produce milk?
If intact male goats aren’t allowed, how will I breed my goats?
How long do dwarf goats live?
What are my options once my dwarf goat stops producing milk?
What if I decide I no longer want to keep my dwarf goats?
What if I want to own more than 8 fowl or 2 dwarf dairy goats, or if I want to own an
animal that isn’t specified in the proposed ordinance?

General Food-Producing Animals Information
What are Food-Producing Animals?
Food-Producing Animals (FPA), for the purpose of this discussion, are chickens,
ducks, and dwarf dairy goats.
Why would someone want to raise FPAs in their backyard?
There are a wide variety of reasons why urban dwellers choose to raise FoodProducing Animals.
Health – Home-raised eggs and dairy have been shown to contain more “good
stuff” (like vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids) and less “bad stuff” (cholesterol and
saturated fats) than their conventionally raised counterparts. Plus, it is easier to ensure
that the animals haven’t been given antibiotics and hormones if you’re raising the
animals yourself. There are also many people who are unable to digest cow’s milk, but
can easily digest goat’s milk.
Environmental – Each item of food in the American diet travels an average of
1500 miles from the farm to the table. Home food production reduces the use of fossil
fuels (and the accompanying pollution) from transporting food. Also, the vast majority of
eggs and dairy are produced in Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs), which
pollute surface and ground water.
Food Safety & Security – Food that is produced in CAFOs is vulnerable to
contamination from food-borne bacteria like E coli and salmonella. Plus, backyard FoodProducing Animals can provide a reliable (and inflation-proof) source of healthy protein
for families. Less than 1% of the food that is consumed in Denver is produced in
Colorado. That leaves our residents extremely vulnerable to disruptions in the food
system due to extreme weather or other catastrophes.
Economic – It used to be common knowledge (not to mention common sense)
that raising one’s own milk or eggs was cheaper than buying them from the store. These

animals are still cost-effective, even when raised in small numbers – especially if you
compare the quality of what they produce (i.e. organic, pastured, grass-fed) to the cost of
buying a comparable product. Access to healthy, affordable protein can make a big
difference to families, especially if they are lower-income.
If you want to live this way, why don’t you just move to the country?
There are many reasons why people live in the city – for jobs, for schools,
because they own their home and can’t move, etc. Honestly, saying to someone “why
don’t you just move” is a fairly economically insensitive statement.
Scale is everything. It doesn’t make sense to raise 500 chickens or 200 head of
cattle on a city lot – that’s better left to folks in the country. But can a small flock of
chickens or ducks plus a couple of dwarf goats have a clean, safe home in a Denver
backyard? Most definitely.
The idea that city-dwellers should not have the right to produce food on their
small piece of land is unfair, and it leaves urban residents entirely dependent on people in
the country to produce 100% of their food.
How are urban residents going to learn how to properly care for these animals?
There are at least 5 organizations in the Denver area that currently offer classes in
backyard chicken and goat keeping: Denver Botanic Gardens, Front Range Community
College (continuing education), Feed Denver, Denver Urban Homesteading, and
Heirloom Gardens. There are also numerous online resources, including forums
(www.backyardchickens.com), that allow new animal owners to interact with veteran
animal raisers. In addition, there are a wealth of books about raising these animals, at
least a couple of which specifically address raising them in a city (The Urban Homestead,
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading).

About the Proposed Food-Producing Animals Ordinance, and
Community Concerns
Will this ordinance make fowl and dwarf goats “legal” in Denver?
Fowl and dwarf goats are currently allowed in Denver. In order to own them
legally, you must go through an expensive and extensive permitting process. There are
many families that are raising fowl and/or dwarf goats in the city (some of them have
permits, and some do not).
Can you tell me a little about the current system that’s in place?
Our current system requires an Animal Control permit and a Zoning Use Permit.
The process takes around 3 months, and requires several trips (during business hours) to
both Animal Control and Zoning. The process requires several different forms and letters,
and can be quite difficult to navigate. The initial permit costs $150 for chickens, $200 for
goats, or $250 for chickens and goats. Keeping the animals requires an annual renewal of
$50 for chickens, $100 for goats, or $150 for chickens and goats (even if the animals
have behaved perfectly all year, and haven’t posed any problems for the city). You can

read about the current system in detail by going here:
http://www.eatwhereulive.com/sfd_current.htm
What’s wrong with the current system?
 The process is unnecessarily expensive, and the costs are completely
disproportionate to the licensing requirements for other animals (such as dogs).
 The expense required to secure a permit unfairly penalizes low-income families,
who are the ones that stand to benefit most from the economic advantages of
keeping food-producing animals.
 The process is unreasonably bureaucratic, difficult to navigate, and time
consuming. Most of the work required to secure a permit must be conducted
during business hours.
 The time requirements are especially prohibitive for low-income families, who
may have longer work hours with less flexibility.
 Our current process assumes problems with the animals (such as odor and noise)
before they occur. The existing animal code has well-defined strategies for
dealing with animal noise, odor, and neglect issues when they occur. It makes
more sense to apply our existing rules to food-producing animals if and when
there is a problem, rather than penalizing potential owners beforehand.
 Laws that govern the lifestyle of people living in close proximity must balance
individual freedoms with the rights of neighbors to dictate protocol for the area.
What are the main things that the proposed ordinance would change?
The proposed ordinance would remove the requirement of the animal control
permit and the zoning use permit for the keeping of a limited number of FPAs (up to 8
female chickens or ducks and up to 2 dwarf goats), and replace it with a low-cost, one
time Animal Control license. These animals can be kept as an accessory use in any zone
district.
The ordinance would include guidelines that dictate where the FPA shelter must
be placed on the property, the amount of permeable land required per animal, fencing,
and access to a adequate shelter.
The following rules are currently true, and would remain in place under the new
ordinance: The FPAs are subject to laws regarding animal noise, odor, nuisance, and
cruelty/abuse. Slaughtering is not allowed anywhere in the city as an accessory use.
Would this ordinance take the neighborhood organizations out of the process?
The current permitting process does include notification of RNOs and
surrounding neighbors. However, at the time of the notification, the resident has not yet
acquired the Food Producing Animals. In fact, most residents don't even construct a coop
or a fence until they have completed the permitting process.
When evaluating public input during the permitting process, the Zoning
Administrator is required to only consider complaints that have to do with the resident's
ability to fulfill the guidelines of the ordinance. Since the resident does not yet own
chickens or goats, it would be difficult for an RNO or neighbor to raise concerns about
animals that don't yet exist. Community Planning & Development (zoning) has not found

the above process to be helpful or useful, which is why they have supported the creation
of a new Food Producing Animals ordinance.
While the proposed new FPA ordinance does not contain a zoning permit,
neighbors still have protections. If the animals are creating a problem with smell, noise,
or any other sort of nuisance, then the neighbor has recourse through Neighborhood
Inspection Services and/or Animal Care & Control. The Food Producing Animal owner
can receive fines, an order to appear in court, jail time, and/or the removal of the animals.
Will FPAs in the city decrease my property value?
There is no evidence to show that this will be the case. Some of the cities with the
highest property values in the country – like New York City, Seattle, and Portland –
allow the keeping of FPAs. One can reasonably assume that if FPA ordinances resulted in
a decrease in residents’ quality of life (with a corresponding decrease in property values),
then cities which had passed FPA ordinances would be taking steps to repeal their
ordinance as soon as possible. Instead, the opposite is occurring. Fort Collins and
Longmont both had sunset provisions written into their initial FPA ordinances, which
would have allowed them to easily revoke the ordinance after one year. Neither city
chose to invoke the sunset when the first year was over, thereby leaving their FPA
ordinances intact. Seattle has recently taken steps to expand its FPA ordinance, going
from 3 hens and 3 dwarf goats up to 8 hens and 3 dwarf goats.
It is true that any animal that is not being properly kept – whether it’s a dog, a
chicken, or a dwarf goat – will negatively impact the neighborhood. Therefore, all
animals in Denver are subject to laws regarding noise, odor, nuisance, and cruelty/abuse.
Would I need to get a license in order to have FPAs?
Yes. The Department of Environmental Health (through Animal Care and
Control) will be issuing FPA licenses. This is a one-time, low cost (probably around $20)
license that will give the owner permission to have up to 8 female fowl and up to 2 dwarf
dairy goats. The license does not need to be renewed, because there is no need for proof
of vaccinations. Vaccinations of chickens and goats are not required to protect public
health in Colorado.
The purpose of the license is two-fold. First, it will allow Animal Control to know
where these animals are in the city. If animals were to escape (which doesn’t happen
often) Animal Control could return them home, and Animal Control could also contact all
city chicken/goat owners if necessary. In addition, the license process will give Animal
Control the opportunity to distribute information to all future FPA owners. This
information will cover what is required under the ordinance, suggested “best practices”
for keeping the animals, and resources FPA owners can utilize to learn more.
Eight chickens sounds like a lot. Why so many?
If a family was keeping eight laying hens they could expect up to 3 dozen eggs a
week. There are some larger families that consume that many eggs. However, the primary
reason for allowing up to 8 female fowl is to give families some leeway if they want to
keep their older animals as pets. It is advisable for families to start with just 3 or 4 hens,
and then add 2 new hens to their flock every 3 years or so. That allows families to keep

older, less productive hens as pets, and yet still stay within a reasonable flock size (8
hens) for the city.
Will the city become overrun with chickens, ducks, and dwarf goats?
Not likely. Other cities with sensible FPA rules have experienced an increase in
the number of people who own backyard chickens and/or goats, but the urban feel of
those cities (like Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Fort Collins) has not changed. When Denver
updated its rules for backyard beekeeping (similar to what is now being proposed for
FPAs) a few years ago, the city was not overrun with bee swarms. However, the
beekeeping ordinance has made the process less cumbersome for those individuals,
families, and community gardeners who benefit from backyard bees.
Shouldn’t the city impose some kind of limit on the total number of animals (dogs,
cats, chickens, goats, etc) you can have as an accessory use?
Rather than imposing an arbitrary limit on the aggregate number of animals, it is
more useful to look at the animals’ impact. Just one dog can create quite a nuisance if it
isn’t being cared for properly. On the other hand, a small flock of chickens and a couple
of dwarf goats, plus household pets, can all be kept successfully if their owner takes good
care of them. Regardless of the number of animals, if there is a problem with noise, odor,
or nuisance, the city has laws in place to deal with those issues. Also, it is worth
mentioning that other cities (like Seattle) allow chickens and goats as a use-by-right
alongside dogs and cats, without imposing a limit on the aggregate number of animals.
Remember, Seattle used to allow 3 chickens and 3 goats. In 2010 they upped that number
to 8 chickens and 3 goats. Their decision to expand the number of FPAs allowed as a useby-right is telling.
What if I want to own more than 8 fowl or 2 dwarf dairy goats, or if I want to own
an animal that isn’t specified in the proposed ordinance?
Something very close to the current process will remain available to anyone who
wants to own animals above and beyond what would be allowed through the FPA license
in the new ordinance. If you want to own anything beyond 8 fowl or 2 dwarf dairy goats
(9 chickens, or an alpaca, etc) then you will need to complete the ZPIN process, which is
a Zoning Permit with Informational Notice. This differs slightly from our current FPA
permitting process, which is a ZPIN-plus. Denver’s department of Community Planning
& Development feels that the “plus” is duplicative and not necessary; therefore they are
asking that the process for extra animals be modified to a ZPIN.
Why are only dwarf goats allowed, and not the full-sized version?
Dwarf goats (which weigh approximately 55 pounds and are about the size of a
golden retriever) are more appropriate for the city because they are smaller, easier to
handle, and can be adequately contained with lower fences compared to full-size goats.
If everyone cared for their FPAs as well as (enter name here) does, I wouldn’t have
a problem with it. However, I’m worried about how “other people” will care for
their animals.

First of all, if you talk with urban FPAs owners, you’ll find that the vast majority
of them care for their animals quite well. Secondly, in this country we don’t make laws
based on the lowest common denominator. If we did, no one would be able to purchase
alcohol, no one could buy a gun, and no one would be able to drive a car. We make the
decision, as a society, to afford certain liberties to the general population, even though
those liberties may be abused in the hands of a few. We have rules in place to deal with
noise, odor, nuisance, and cruelty/abuse issues.
What can a neighbor do if there is a problem with smell, noise, or animals being
cared for improperly?
If the keeping of FPAs in creating a problem, the best remedy for a neighbor is to
dial “311.” The 311 operator will refer the complaint to either Neighborhood Inspection
Services or Animal Control, depending on the nature of the complaint. The NIS/AC
officer can take the following steps:
- Issue a cease and desist order
- Issue an administrative citation with escalating fines ($150, $500, $999)
- Issue a General Violation, which requires the homeowner to appear in court
In addition, Animal Control has the right to confiscate the animals, if it feels that the
action is warranted.
Is slaughtering allowed in residential districts?
No. Slaughtering is illegal now, and it will remain illegal under the new
ordinance. Slaughtering is not allowed as an accessory use in ANY zone districts in the
city. Those found to have slaughtered their animals in the city can be subject to a trip to
court, one year in prison, and a fine of up to $999.
What if someone wanted to sell eggs or milk from their animals?
First, it’s important to note that the proposed FPA ordinance was written with the
intention that the food produced in backyards would be for personal/family consumption.
No one could possibly maintain a successful commercial egg or milk operation with just
8 fowl or 2 dwarf goats.
The selling of eggs or milk actually encompasses two separate issues. The first is
the health regulations around selling eggs or milk (or vegetables or fruit) from a homebased operation. These regulations are written and enforced by the State Department of
Environmental Health. The city of Denver has absolutely nothing to do with this. While
the city is not encouraging the sale of milk or eggs, anyone who wants to know more
about the health regulations regarding their sale should contact the State.
The second issue deals with the selling of any item from a residential lot. No
matter what we’re talking about – whether it’s eggs, tomatoes, or baby sweaters – the city
does not allow you to sell anything from your home. You can grow tomatoes or knit baby
sweaters at home, but if you want to sell them you must first transport them to a
commercial/business zoned area. So, the same would hypothetically be true for eggs or
milk. However, once you transported your product to a commercial/business area, the
State Department of Environmental Health would have an opinion as to whether or not
you were allowed to sell them.

How much space am I required to have for my fowl and/or dwarf goats?
You must have at least 16 square feet of permeable space per fowl, and at least
130 square feet of permeable space per dwarf goat. “Permeable space” refers to dirt or
grass, as opposed to concrete. FPAs can not be kept on balconies.
What kind of shelter is required under the ordinance?
You must provide your animals with a shelter that is adequate to safely contain
them and protect them from the elements. Animal Care & Control is developing
guidelines for what constitutes adequate shelter. This means that chicken, duck, and
dwarf goat shelters will be evaluated in exactly the same way that shelters are currently
evaluated for other outside animals like dogs (and, in fact, the way the chicken/goat
shelters are evaluated under the current ordinance). When future FPA owners go to get
their license they will receive information about providing adequate shelter for their
animals.
Are there any rules about where the animals’ shelter has to be located?
Yes. Under the proposed new ordinance, the shelter must be located on the rear
50% of the property. In addition, it must be at least 15 feet away from a neighbor’s
dwelling.
Are there any rules about fencing for the animals?
The animals must be contained behind fencing that is adequate to prevent escape.
What about the animals themselves? Where can they venture on my property?
The animals must be kept in the rear 50% of the lot. The animals can wander
freely in their fenced area.
Has Denver ever passed an ordinance similar to this one? How did that work out?
The proposed FPA ordinance is modeled in part on Denver’s successful backyard
beekeeping ordinance (it is also modeled after FPA ordinances in other cities; see next
question). In order to keep bees in Denver you do not need to get a permit. However,
there are rules limiting the number of hives you can have without a permit, and rules
regarding where those hives must be kept on your property. This balance – no permit, but
rules regarding how the bees must be kept – has shown to be a successful way to
integrate beekeeping into the city and provides an appropriate model for FPA regulation.
Are there other cities that have Food-Producing Animal rules similar to what
Denver is considering?
Yes. There are many, many cities across the country that allow the keeping of
FPAs, and more cities are altering their laws in favor of FPAs every week. Just a few
examples: Seattle, Chicago, and Portland allow both hen fowl and dwarf dairy goats
without any sort of permit. New York City and Los Angeles allow an unlimited number
of fowl without a permit. Colorado Springs and Littleton both allow limited numbers of
fowl (10 and 4, respectively) without a permit. Fort Collins and Longmont allow
chickens with a simple permit (the process is much less complex than what is currently
required in Denver).

Has anyone done a study on the effects of allowing Food-Producing Animals like
chickens in an urban setting?
Hugh Bartling, a public policy professor at DePaul University, recently did a
study which evaluated the impact of chicken ordinances on 23 cities across the country.
His study posed a variety of questions to city staff, including what they felt the overall
impact was to the city. All of the cities responded that the impact of their chicken
ordinance was either “positive” or “neutral.” You can read more by clicking here:
http://bit.ly/gN1Akw
How can we be sure that passing the ordinance won’t create a big problem?
It is understandable that urban residents may be apprehensive about Food
Producing Animals in the city. Predators, quality of life, and property values are all
commonly voiced concerns. However, it is telling to look at what has happened when
other cities have passed Food Producing Animals ordinances.
Fort Collins and Longmont recently passed chicken ordinances. The ordinances
had a one year "sunset," so the city had the option of revoking the ordinance after a year.
Neither Fort Collins nor Longmont chose to invoke the sunset once the first year passed.
Seattle previously allowed 3 chickens and 3 goats without a permit. In 2010, they
expanded their Food Producing Animals ordinance to 8 chickens and 3 goats without a
permit.
If the commonly voiced concerns (predators, property values, etc) about urban
Food Producing Animals were actually a problem for cities, we should expect to see
cities with FPA ordinances moving to revoke or restrict their ordinances at the first
opportunity. Instead, the opposite is happening -- cities are allowing their ordinances to
remain in place, and in some cases are even expanding them.
Isn’t there a ballot initiative in the works to allow chickens? (And what will happen
if City Council doesn’t pass the FPA ordinance?)
There is a group in Denver that has been gathering signatures for a citizen’s ballot
initiative to allow 6 chickens without a permit. The ballot initiative does specify that no
roosters are allowed, but there are no specific guidelines regarding how the animals are to
be kept. The ballot initiative doesn’t contain any guidelines regarding permeable space
(chickens could be kept on balconies or on pavement) or the placement of shelters (a
chicken coop could be put right under a neighbor’s kitchen window).
The group proposing the ballot initiative has agreed not to put the issue on the
May ballot, so that the FPA ordinance has the opportunity to go through City Council.
We believe that the ordinance is a better option for Denver, because it was crafted by the
agencies that are responsible for monitoring problems in our neighborhood (Community
Planning & Development and Animal Control) and because the ordinance addresses the
keeping of FPAs in an urban context.
However, if City Council fails to pass the comprehensive FPA ordinance, the
citizen’s ballot initiative – with its lack of specific guidelines regarding the keeping of
FPAs -- will very likely appear on the November ballot.
What is the timeline for getting the FPA ordinance passed?

Here are some upcoming public events for the FPA ordinance:
Public Informational Forum
May 7th
6:00-7:30pm
The Tivoli at Auraria Campus, Room 320S
Denver Planning Board
May 16th
3:00pm
Webb Building, Room 4.F.6
Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure Committee
May 22nd
City and County Building, Room 391
In addition, there will be a Mayor/Council meeting, the first reading of the
ordinance before City Council, and the public hearing/City Council vote. The City
Council vote is scheduled for May 16th.

Basic Information About Food-Producing Animals
Fowl (Hen Chickens & Ducks)
What kinds of fowl are allowed under the new ordinance?
The proposed new ordinance addresses the keeping of female chickens and ducks
(which are both called “hens”). Any breed of female chickens and most breeds of female
ducks will be allowed, but the ordinance may prohibit the keeping of “call” ducks
without a permit. Roosters are not allowed under the proposed ordinance.
How large are fowl?
Regular (sometimes called “standard”) hens weigh between 4-6 pounds. Bantam
Hens weigh 1-2 pounds. Duck weight varies based on breed, but is typically between 2-6
pounds.
Do fowl make a lot of noise?
Female chickens are generally very quiet, and ducks are also quiet when they’re
well cared for. Chickens may cluck a little bit when they are laying an egg, and ducks
may quack as a greeting, but it is significantly quieter than a dog bark. (The exception to
this are call ducks, which may not be allowed under the new ordinance.) Once it’s dark
outside chickens go completely silent. They can’t see at all in the dark, and they hunker
down and don’t make a peep. Roosters are the noisy ones (the animals that crow when
the sun rises) and are not appropriate for the city.
Do small urban flocks smell bad?
Chickens or ducks raised in a small backyard flock have very little in common
with chickens in a large, commercial operation. When chickens are given adequate space

and proper bedding (straw or pine shavings), their manure does not build up and cause
odor issues. The manure that does exist can be easily removed and properly disposed of.
Do urban fowl attract predators to the neighborhood?
Small mammal predators are a fact of life in the city. Outdoor cats, squirrels,
birds, and (most especially) our garbage all ensure that predators will continue to stick
around. In fact, with our city’s trash system, there are probably several dead chickens
right now on every block in Denver. They’re in the dumpsters – the chicken carcasses
that people throw away after dinner, or grocery store rotisseries throw out whole if they
don’t sell by the end of the day. This isn’t to say that if you put a live chicken in front of
a fox then the fox won’t eat it, but it’s not correct to think that a few chickens would
impact the predator population when there is already such a vast abundance of available
food for them to eat.
There are multiple cities throughout the country that have enacted FPA
ordinances. One can reasonably assume that if FPA ordinances resulted in an increase in
urban predators, then cities which had passed FPA ordinances would be taking steps to
repeal their ordinance as soon as possible. Instead, the opposite is occurring. Fort Collins
and Longmont both had sunset provisions written into their initial FPA ordinances, which
would have allowed them to easily revoke the ordinance after one year. Neither city
chose to invoke the sunset when the first year was over, thereby leaving their FPA
ordinances intact. Seattle has recently taken steps to expand its FPA ordinance, going
from 3 hens and 3 dwarf goats up to 8 hens and 3 dwarf goats.
Do small urban flocks carry diseases?
A veterinarian testifying at a chicken hearing in Greeley (and quoted in the
Greeley Tribune) said that there are 12-14 diseases that cats and dogs carry which can be
transferred to humans, compared to just 2-3 that could be carried by chickens or ducks.
Sometimes people worry about chickens carrying the “bird flu.” The fact is that wild
birds carry many strains of bird flu, just as humans carry many strains of human flu. Most
strains of bird flu do not infect humans, and bird flu does not pass through the air. There
have not been any cases of the more dangerous bird flu strain (H5N1) in the U.S. If there
were to be an outbreak of H5N1, it is most likely to happen in a crowded Concentrated
Animals Feed Operation (otherwise known as a “factory farm”). So, the more we can
decrease our collective support of CAFOs, the less likely we are to expose ourselves as a
society to animal diseases.
How many eggs does a flock of chickens or ducks lay each day?
The number of eggs a chicken or duck owner can expect varies considerably
depending on the time of year (fowl lay more in the summer and less in the winter) and
how old the animal is (laying will decrease as the bird ages). The general rule is that you
can expect 2 eggs per day for every 3 birds.
Is fowl manure toxic?
Fowl manure is remarkably safe, especially when compared to dog and cat feces.
While dogs and cats are wonderful, their feces are toxic to humans (cat feces can even

contain toxoplasmosis) and cannot be used in compost or to fertilize a garden. However,
fowl manure is a wonderful addition to compost, and can also be used as garden fertilizer.
Are fowl a threat to children?
Female chickens and ducks do not bite or act aggressively toward children.
Are fowl able to fly over fences?
Generally speaking, a 4-foot fence is adequate to keep chickens contained. Of
course, higher fences would be even more effective, and chickens can also be kept
contained in a fully enclosed poultry run. If a fowl owner has a chicken that is an
exceptionally good flyer, the owner can trim the feathers on one of the wings and
effectively “ground” the bird. Ducks should always have trimmed wings to prevent flight.
What are the benefits to owning fowl, besides eggs?
Fowl are great at quickly recycling food and garden scraps into useable fertilizer.
Many fowl owners find that feeding their leftovers to the chickens and ducks is a much
more efficient way of composting than the tradition “mixing greens and browns” method.
Chickens also enjoy eating bugs, which some people find helpful. Raising backyard
Food-Producing Animals is a great way to involve children in a family project where they
feel like they’re making a real contribution. Plus, chickens and ducks can be great pets.
They have distinctive personalities, and can be very social.

Dwarf Goats
What do you mean by “dwarf goats?”
We are referring specifically to Nigerian Dwarf or African Pygmy breeds of goat.
How big are dwarf goats?
Female Nigerian Dwarf goats usually reach a weight of about 55 pounds when
they’re fully grown. Wether (neutered male) goats can weigh up to 70 pounds. Nigerians
reach a height of 19 inches at the shoulder (24 inches at the top of their head). African
Pygmy goats are a bit smaller. The females weigh around 45 pounds, and wethers can
weigh 55 pounds. Pygmy goats are about 16 inches tall at the shoulder. These animals are
about the size of a golden retriever.
Is there a restriction on the gender of the goats?
The proposed new Food-Producing Animals ordinance addresses the keeping of
female (doe) and neutered male (wether) goats. Un-neutered or intact male goats (bucks)
emit a strong aroma, and are not considered suitable for the city.
Do dwarf goats make a lot of noise?
Goats bleat occasionally, but the average goat bleat is quieter than the average
dog bark. Also, remember that some dogs bark when a person walks by, or if they see a
squirrel, or if they’re defending their territory, or if they’re bored. Goats don’t bleat in

any of these situations. Goats are a “prey” species, not a “predator” species. Their natural
response to a threat or unusual situation is to become very still and quiet.
Do dwarf goats smell bad?
Female (doe) and neutered male (wether) goats do not smell. The “goaty” smell
you may be thinking of is emitted by un-neutered male goats (bucks). Bucks do smell
tremendously bad, and they’re not suitable for the city.
Goat urine is less odorous than cat urine, and it is easily absorbed into the ground
or straw bedding. Goat manure is “dispensed” in small, compact pellets (similar to deer
droppings). Goat manure does not smell or attract flies the way that cow and horse
manure does.
Do dwarf goats carry diseases?
Goats do carry occasionally contract diseases (like Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis
or enterotoxemia) that can affect other goats, but they are not transferable to humans.
Potential goat owners can get an inexpensive test for CAE before bringing a goat home,
and it’s recommended that goat owners get their goats vaccinated regularly with what is
known as a “CD&T” vaccine, which protects against enterotoxemia and tetanus. Again,
this is for the health of the goats. It is not comparable to a rabies vaccine, which exists to
protect both dogs and humans. The above goat diseases are the only ones which are
common in Colorado. For example, hoof-and-mouth disease (also sometimes called footin-mouth disease) is not an issue in the United States. The last outbreak in this country
was in 1929, and according to Dr. Richard Wallace with the University of Illinois
Extension, the United States is considered to be free of this infection.
If goats need vaccinations, then why isn’t that required in the ordinance?
Goat veterinarians in Colorado recommend that goats receive an annual "CD&T"
vaccine. This vaccine protects goats against enterotoxemia and tetanus. The reason why
this vaccination is not included in the Food-Producing Animals ordinance is because
enterotoxemia and tetanus pose a hazard only to the goats. They are not a public health
threat (unlike rabies, for example). Therefore, the CD&T vaccination is considered a
"best practice" for the health of the goats, but is not required by law. There are other
vaccinations for goats out there (for example, a CL or caseous lymphadenitis vaccine),
but they are not administered in Colorado because the disease is not present here.
How much milk does a dwarf goat produce?
Goats do not lactate 365 days a year, and the milk output will decrease as a goat
approaches the end of her lactation cycle. However, on average, you can expect to get
between 3-5 cups of milk per day from a dwarf goat.
Is dwarf goat manure toxic?
Goat manure is remarkably safe, especially when compared to dog and cat feces.
While dogs and cats are wonderful, their feces are toxic to humans (cat feces can even
contain toxoplasmosis) and cannot be used in compost or to fertilize a garden. However,
goat manure is a wonderful addition to compost, and can also be used as garden fertilizer.

Are dwarf goats a threat to children?
Female and neutered male (wether) goats do not bite or behave aggressively
toward people. It is recommended that goat owners get their goats disbudded (dehorned)
when the goats are babies, to minimize the risk of goats getting their horns caught in
fencing or injuring another goat through typical goat play.
Are dwarf goats able to jump over fences?
Goats are notorious for being mischievous, but a 4-foot fence is sufficient to keep
a dwarf goat contained.
What are the benefits to owning dwarf goats, besides milk?
Goats are great at quickly recycling vegetarian food and garden scraps into
useable fertilizer. Many goat owners find that feeding their leftovers to the animals is a
much more efficient way of composting than the tradition “mixing greens and browns”
method. Goats are also great hiking companions, and can even carry a small pack! (The
doggie backpacks available at pet stores work well for this.) Raising backyard FoodProducing Animals is a great way to involve children in a family project where they feel
like they’re making a real contribution. Plus, dwarf goats are great pets. They are said to
be as intelligent as dogs, and become very attached to their owners.

Caring for Food-Producing Animals
Fowl (Chickens & Ducks)
How much space do fowl need?
The truth is that the more space you can give your fowl, the happier they’ll be and
the easier it will be to keep things clean. However, it is possible to be a responsible urban
fowl owner even if you don’t have lots of space. For the purposes of raising a small urban
flock, 10 square feet of permeable space per bird is the commonly accepted minimum
standard. However, Denver’s proposed FPA ordinance requires at least 16 square feet of
permeable space per bird, so Denver residents will need to provide at least that much
ground for their chickens or ducks.
In terms of shelter space, the proper minimums vary depending on the setup you
have for your birds. Some chicken owners have just one structure, which serves as both
the nighttime, predator-proof enclosure as well as the daytime shelter (chickens and
ducks must be provided with a way to be protected from the elements during the day).
However, other chicken owners provide a smaller, predator-proof nighttime enclosure,
and then give the birds a larger daytime sheltered space. You can reference “Storey’s
Guide to Raising Chickens,” the www.backyardchickens.com website, or speak to
someone at Animal Care and Control (dial 311) if you have specific questions.
Are the minimum space requirements adequate to raise fowl in a healthy and safe
way?
Yes. The “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens,” which is a well-respected text on
the subject of raising backyard birds, recommends a minimum of 4 square feet of “open”
(i.e. permeable) space for the largest chickens, which are classified as “heavy” birds. The

proposed ordinance requires at least 16 square feet of permeable space per bird, which is
a well-accepted number among urban chicken owners. However, the more space you give
your fowl the happier they will be and the easier your job will be as a chicken owner.
What should I know about choosing a shelter for my fowl?
The most important thing to know is that your fowl’s nighttime shelter must be
predator proof. Fowl are especially vulnerable to predators when it gets dark, because
their night vision is quite poor.
Do ducks need water to play in?
Ducks enjoy having access to water for playing (like a kiddie swimming pool),
but it’s not mandatory.
What do fowl eat?
Fowl are omnivores, which means that they can eat most kinds of table scraps.
They also enjoy eating weeds and most kinds of plant scraps from gardens. It’s good to
also provide fowl with specially formulated poultry feed, which can be purchased from a
number of Denver-area feed stores or farmers.
How do I dispose of the manure from my fowl?
It’s important to note that fowl manure (unlike the feces from cats or dogs) is not
toxic to humans and can be safely composted and added to gardens.
1. Manure can be gathered along with the bedding (straw or pine shavings) and
composted in a covered bin.
2. Manure can be securely bagged and thrown away.
How long do fowl live?
A well-cared for chicken or duck could live 8 years, or even a tad longer in
unusual cases.
How long do fowl lay eggs?
Chickens and ducks are most productive in their first two (and sometimes three)
years of laying. After that time fowl may continue to lay eggs sporadically, but it will be
infrequent.
What are my options once my fowl stop laying eggs?
Fowl owners have several options once their animals stop laying:
- Keep the fowl as pets. The likelihood of families wishing to do this was part of
the impetus for the 8 fowl maximum in the new ordinance. Some families are large
enough to require 8 laying hens at once, but many can get by with just 3 or 4. In the
educational outreach that will be happening as a part of a new ordinance passing, the city
and sustainability groups will be encouraging families to err on the side of smaller flocks.
A family can start with 3 laying hens, then 3 years later add 2 more chicks, then 3 years
later add 2 more chicks, etc. The older hens will still lay occasionally, and supplement the
production of the younger birds. This allows families to keep their older fowl, because
they often become pets.

- Re-home the chickens through Craigslist (it is legal to sell/give away livestock
on Craigslist) or through the message board of the Greater Denver Urban Homesteaders
meetup group (http://www.meetup.com/Greater-Denver-Urban-Homesteaders). Denver
has a lot of agricultural land surrounding it, and often the people who live in those areas
are more than happy to take unwanted Food-Producing Animals. These "country folk"
have a lot of sense, and aren't likely to turn down a free Food-Producing Animals.
- Donate the fowl to a wildlife raptor rescue program (like the Rocky Mountain
Raptor program) to be used as animal food. This allows chicken owners to safely discard
older birds, while helping to support the rehabilitation of other animals.
- There are places outside of Denver (like Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud
http://www.longshadowfarm.com) who are willing to process fowl for a small fee.
- Fowl owners can take the animals to the veterinarian and have it euthanized.
What if I decide I no longer want to keep my fowl?
As we mentioned above, there are many options for re-homing Food-Producing
Animals like chickens and ducks. See answer to previous question.

Dwarf Goats
Is it ok if I just own one dwarf goat instead of two?
No. Goats are very social animals, and they will become distressed (and
sometimes ill) if they are made to live without a companion. A dog (or other non-goat
animal) is not a suitable companion, unless the dog will be living outdoors with the goat
24 hours a day. If you don’t wish to own two does, you can get one doe and one wether (a
neutered male) as a companion. Wethers are significantly less expensive than does, and
can sometimes be acquired for free.
How much space do dwarf goats need?
Dwarf goats benefit from at least 15 square feet of sheltered space per animal,
plus at least 130 square feet of outdoor space per animal. So, two goats need a shelter
(like a shed) that’s at least 30 square feet, and a fenced yard of at least 260 square feet.
What do dwarf goats eat?
Dwarf goats are herbivores. It is important that they always have access to hay
(either grass or alfalfa) to maintain healthy digestion. In addition, they can eat goat grain
as a treat, plus weeds and vegetable/fruit table scraps. Hay and goat grain can be
purchased at one of the many feed stores in the Denver metro area.
How do I dispose of the manure from my dwarf goats?
It’s important to note that goat manure (unlike the feces from cats or dogs) is not
toxic to humans and can be safely composted and added to gardens.
1. Manure can be gathered along with the bedding (straw or pine shavings) and
composted in a covered bin.
2. Manure can be securely bagged and thrown away.

Do goats have to have babies to produce milk?
Yes. Just like all mammals (including humans) goats must have a baby in order to
produce milk.
How many babies does a goat typically have at once?
Dwarf goats typically give birth to two babies at once, although they can have
between one and three (or, very occasionally, four) babies at once.
How will I find homes for the babies?
Nigerian Dwarf and African Pygmy goats are in demand, both in the Denver
metro area and in the more rural communities surrounding Denver. Some people who are
looking to acquire dwarf goats are interested in home dairy production. Others want
animals for 4-H projects, or just as pets for their children. Even if you limit your search to
the areas within an hour’s drive of Denver, there are a lot of people with space for goats,
and an awful lot of demand (especially for the dwarf breeds). As an anecdotal example,
there are a couple of dwarf breeders in Conifer (who produce FAR more goat babies
annually than several Denver goat owners put together) and neither of them have any
trouble at all finding homes from their babies.
The proposed FPA ordinance requires that dwarf goat babies are re-homed well
before they reach full adult size (before the babies are 6 months old). Since babies can be
weaned at 8 weeks, that is usually the time at which goat owners send the babies to their
new home.
How long do dwarf goats produce milk?
Nigerian Dwarf goats produce milk for around 300 days after kidding. African
Pygmies have a shorter lactation – around 150 days. If a goat owner has two does, he or
she can alternate the goat’s breedings so that one goat is always producing milk.
If intact male goats aren’t allowed, how will I breed my goats?
There are dwarf goat owners who live outside of Denver – for example, there are
at least two in Conifer – that keep intact male goats. Urban dwarf goat owners can load
their animal into the back of the car and drive them out of the city in order to be bred.
How long do dwarf goats live?
A well cared for goat can live for 14-16 years, although it’s not uncommon for
goats to die after 10-12 years.
What are my options once my dwarf goat stops producing milk?
Dwarf goats can continue to be bred until they are around 10 years old. A goat
that is well cared for can live for a few years after that. Since dwarf goats have notably
distinct personalities, they are often kept as pets until they pass away. However, there are
many people who live in rural areas and maintain large herds of goats, and often provide
a home for unwanted goats with their herd. A goat owner could also take their animal to
be euthanized at the veterinarian once it become older, and is no longer productive.
What if I decide I no longer want to keep my dwarf goats?

As we mentioned, there is a high demand for productive dwarf goats. If your
animals are still young enough to produce milk, you can find new homes for them
through Craigslist or the Greater Denver Urban Homesteaders meetup message board
(http://www.meetup.com/Greater-Denver-Urban-Homesteaders). If your goat is no longer
productive, you can follow the suggestions from the previous question.