Urban Agriculture
University of California
Urban Agriculture

Animals and Bees

Ducks at Sunnyside Organics Seedlings Farm, Richmond Calilfornia
Many urban agriculture projects involve raising animals for eggs, dairy, meat, and honey. While fresh eggs, honey and other products can be some of the greatest pleasures of urban agriculture, they can also bring challenges with neighbors, who may not appreciate the sounds and smells of animals, or may be fearful of bees or allergic to bee stings.  Animal agriculture seems to be the area of urban farming where community conflict is most likely to arise.

It’s important to check your city’s zoning codes to determine what animals are allowed, and under what conditions.  Policy and legal considerations for including animals in urban agriculture are available at UrbanAgLaw.org.

It’s also wise to befriend your neighbors and be generous in sharing the fruits of your labor.  If you work to minimize noise and smells, follow applicable laws, and cultivate open communication with neighbors, this will go a long way towards making your animal agriculture project a success. 

Managing animals appropriately and ethically is also critical. Before adding animals to an urban agriculture project, it’s imperative to learn all you can about their needs, and consider in advance what you will do when the animals’ productivity is at an end. Recent reports suggest that urban animal shelters and animal rescue organizations are beginning to see an increase in unwanted backyard chickens and other backyard livestock. Adding animals to urban agriculture, whether a backyard farm or a community project, requires special consideration and planning. We have included resources for the management of poultry, bees, livestock, and fish.

Webmaster Email: vtborel@ucanr.edu