Goats and Chickens

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Goats for Vegetation Management (Short-Term)
Goats can be used in lieu of heavy machinery and/or pesticides for vegetation management on private property.  However, if goats are not properly managed onsite, or used in the wrong area, they have the potential to cause damage to the property and/or critical areas (protected areas, such as wetlands).  Before bringing goats onto a property for vegetation management, contact Planning and Development Services to explain your plan for keeping them onsite, and to be sure that the location you are planning on clearing is appropriate for the use of goats.

Information needed for short-term vegetation management:

  • Written consent from property owners within 50 feet of the property lines
  • Property address and area of vegetation onsite
  • Number of goats that will be on the property
  • Number of days the goats will be on the property
  • Type and location of fencing (electric is not allowed)
  • Will there be an onsite manager for the goats?
  • Do you plan to re-landscape after the goats are done?

Goats clearing vegetation on private property

Keeping of Goats (Long-Term)
Goats are allowed to be kept on private property under the following circumstances:

  • Compliance with Tacoma Municipal Code (TMC) 5.23.020;
  • Property area of at least 20,000 square feet where the goats will be kept;
  • Fencing is in place that keeps the goats at least 50 feet from adjoining property lines;
  • Written consent from all property owners within 50 feet of the property lines where the goats are being kept is filed with the City Clerk’s Office.

Raising chickens in urban areas

Chickens and Other Poultry

The City allows keeping of adult chicken and other poultry in residential areas, however, the number is limited to 6 adult poultry and 6 pigeons per parcel (of private property) unless written consent can be provided from all property owners within 50 feet of where the poultry or pigeons are kept. If written consent of is filed with the City Clerk’s Office, then up to 10 adult poultry and 10 adult pigeons are allowed on a parcel.  One additional adult poultry or pigeon is allowed for each 5,000 square feet of parcel area in excess of 10,000 square feet.  The keeping of roosters is prohibited.

Chickens and other poultry are not allowed to run freely in the streets, alleys or public places within the City.  Cages/coops must be:

  • Located at least 12 feet from the nearest portion of any residence, dwelling, hotel, apartment house or rooming house
  • Located behind the front wall of the main building on the parcel
  • Located outside of the required side yard setback area of the main building
  • Less than 200 square feet in size to be exempt from needing a building permit

Other resources:
Tacoma Pierce-County Health Department
WA State Dept of Health

Applicable Regulations:
TMC Title 5 Health and Sanitation
TMC Title 13 Land Use Regulatory Code