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Rooster Keeping Permits

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On December 16, 2014, Monterey County Supervisors approved a Rooster Ordinance that defines a Rooster Keeping Operation as one where 5 or more roosters are kept on any single property within the unincorporated areas of Monterey County. 

The purpose of the Rooster Ordinance is to balance the legitimate interests of agricultural businesses and agricultural educational organizations with the prevention of rooster keeping that is unsanitary, environmentally damaging, inhumane, and conducive to illegal cockfighting. No Rooster Keeping Operation can legally operate in the unincorporated areas of Monterey County without either a permit exemption or a permit.

 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  •  Those persons who keep less than 5 roosters are not affected by this ordinance.
  •  A rooster is a male chicken that is either 6 months or older, or has full adult plumage, or is capable of crowing. 
  • No person shall maintain any rooster by tethering (tying) the rooster to a stake or any other object. Each individual rooster so tethered constitutes a separate violation.  

Permits 

All Rooster Keeping Operations that do not qualify for one of the exemptions must submit a completed application for Form 100 (English)(Spanish) to a Monterey County Animal Services officer for approval in order to receive a permit to operate. In brief, a completed application consists of the applicant’s contact information, on-site manager’s contact information and the breed and number of roosters and hens kept on the property. The application also includes a declaration that the applicant or property owner has not been convicted of illegal cockfighting or crimes of animal cruelty and will not make any roosters available for illegal cockfighting. As part of the application, the applicant must also include: 

  1. Site Map showing all locations on the property at which roosters/hens are sheltered
  2. Documentation that the applicant is the sole owner of the property, or written consent by the owner(s) that the property can be used for the Rooster Keeping Operation.
  3. A manure and solid waste removal management plan (Sample Manure Management Plan)
  4. A copy of the solid waste hauling contract or garbage collection bill from the county-franchised hauler
  5. Such other information that the Animal Services officer may deem necessary to decide on approval of the permit. 

Permitted Rooster Keeping Operations must meet stringent requirements: 

  • Applicants must make premises, facilities and equipment available for inspection prior to approval of the permit and at any time deemed necessary by the Animal Services officer.
  • The rooster keeping premises must not violate any zoning ordinance or other applicable laws or regulations.
  • Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall maintain any rooster by tethering the rooster to a stake or any other object. Each individual rooster so tethered constitutes a separate violation.
  • All indoor or outdoor structures, pens, cages, or other housing for roosters shall be structurally sound and shall be maintained in good repair to protect the roosters from injury, to contain the roosters, and to restrict the entrance of other animals. Crates and boxes, automobile bodies, and scrap materials such as linoleum, tin, canvas, and salvaged ply-boards are not suitable and shall not be used.
  • A permitted Rooster Keeping Operation must meet the standards below:                                                                                                               

1.  Indoor Facilities

a.  Temperature: Indoor facilities shall protect roosters from cold, when the ambient temperature falls below that temperature to which a rooster is acclimated.

b.  Ventilation: Indoor housing facilities shall be ventilated so that they provide fresh air, by means of windows, doors, vents, or similar appropriate openings and minimize drafts, odors, and moisture condensation. Auxiliary ventilation, such as exhaust fans, shall be provided when the ambient temperature is eighty-five (85) degrees Fahrenheit or higher within an indoor housing facility. 

c.  Lighting: Indoor housing facilities shall have light, by natural or artificial means, or both, that provides uniformly distributed illumination of sufficient intensity to permit routine inspection and cleaning. 

d.  Interior Surfaces: Indoor housing facilities shall be constructed of interior building surfaces which make them substantially impervious to moisture and readily sanitized.

e.  Drainage: Indoor housing facilities shall be constructed to rapidly eliminate excess liquid. If drains are used, they shall be kept in good repair to avoid pooling and/or foul odors. If closed drainage systems are used, they shall be equipped with traps and installed so as to prevent backup of sewage into a housing facility.

2.  Outdoor Facilities:

a.  Weather: Shelter shall be provided for roosters kept outdoors. Sufficient protection from weather elements shall be provided to protect against cold, when the ambient temperature falls below that temperature to which a rooster is acclimated. During rain or snow, access to shelter shall be provided to allow roosters kept outdoors to remain dry. When sunlight and ambient temperature are likely to cause overheating or discomfort, shade shall be provided to allow roosters kept outdoors to avoid the direct rays of the sun.

b.  Drainage: Outdoor facilities must provide for rapid elimination of excess liquid. 

3.  All Facilities:

a.  Fencing: Fencing shall be in conformance with zoning and building code requirements and of sufficient height to prevent roosters from escaping. If, in the discretion of the Animal Services officer, a cover over the fenced area is necessary to accomplish containment, a cover shall be installed. 

b.  Water: Clean potable water shall be available to roosters in conformance with accepted principles of animal husbandry, unless water is restricted for veterinary care. Watering receptacles shall be kept clean and sanitized.

c.  Food Storage: Food shall be stored in containers that adequately protect such supplies against infestation or contamination by vermin. 

d.  Waste Disposal (Manure, Food Waste, Debris): Disposal containers shall be utilized so as to minimize vermin infestation, odors, and disease hazards in compliance with section 10.41.020 of the Monterey County Code. Waste disposal of discarded manure, food waste and debris is required at least once per week. Bird or other animal carcasses shall be disposed of in accordance with subsections (D) and (E) of section 10.41.020 of the Monterey County Code. 

e.  Enclosures/Safety: Roosters shall be separately housed in a discrete, primary enclosure per rooster. Primary enclosures shall be structurally sound and maintained in good repair to protect the roosters from injury, to contain them, and to keep other animals out. They shall be constructed and maintained so as to enable roosters to remain dry and clean and to enable access to food and water. Floors shall be constructed and maintained so as to protect roosters’ feet and legs from injury. 

f.  Enclosures/Space: Primary enclosures shall have sufficient room for roosters to spread both wings fully and to be able to rotate in a complete circle without impediment and without touching the side of the enclosure.

g.  Feeding: Roosters shall be fed daily with food that is free from contamination, fresh, and of sufficient quantity and nutritive value to meet normal daily nutrition requirements for the condition and size of the rooster. Food receptacles shall be accessible to all roosters and shall be located to minimize contamination by excreta. Feeding pans shall be durable and sanitized. Disposable food receptacles may be used but must be discarded after each feeding. 

h.  Cleaning: Excreta shall be removed from primary enclosures as often as necessary, at least daily. When a hosing or flushing method is used for cleaning, any rooster contained in the enclosure shall be protected during the cleaning process, and adequate measures shall be taken to protect roosters in other enclosures from being contaminated with water and other wastes. 

i.  Sanitizing: Enclosures shall be sanitized regularly, sufficient to prevent an accumulation of debris or excreta. Before introducing new roosters into previously occupied, empty primary enclosures, such enclosures shall be sanitized as provided by this Chapter. For purposes of sanitation, cages, rooms and hard-surfaced pens shall be: (1) washed with hot water (one hundred eighty

j.  Housekeeping: Premises (buildings and grounds) shall be kept clean, in good repair, and free of accumulations of trash. 

k.  Pest control: An effective program for the control of insects, rodents, or other vermin shall be maintained. (Sample Pest Management Plan)uirements has been met, and before the permit is issued.

Inspections

An Animal Services officer or the Agricultural Commissioner has the right to inspect any Rooster Keeping Operation at intervals as determined by the Animal Services officer, or as a result of a public complaint, or upon other notice received of possible violation of provisions of the ordinance regulating Rooster Keeping Operations.

The appropriate permit fee of $270 will be paid after the initial inspection is completed and compliance with all req(180) degrees Fahrenheit) and soap or detergent; or (2) washed with a detergent solution followed by washing with a safe and effective disinfectant; or (3) cleaned with live steam.

Appeals to any decision denying the exemption request are to be made to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors in writing, specifying the reasons the applicant disagrees with the denial within 10 days of written notice of denial from the Monterey County Animal Services office. The appeal request must be with any required appeal fee. The Board will consider the appeal at public hearing within 60 days of acceptance of the completed appeal request.

The full text of the Rooster Ordinance and further details regarding exemptions and permit requirements can be found here (Rooster Ordinance)

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can also be found here (FAQ's)  Preguntas frecuentes