Animals That Are Considered Livestock in California


In each state across the United States, certain animals are designated as livestock or farm animals, and consequently, they are typically restricted to agriculturally zoned areas. In most residential regions, the keeping of livestock or farm animals is prohibited, while in others, a permit is required. Therefore, if you happen to reside in California, you need to familiarize yourself with the laws pertaining to the ownership of livestock or farm animals as pets within city limits.

In California, each municipality has its own specific classification for livestock or farm animals. For instance, in Los Angeles, livestock encompasses a wide range of animals, including but not limited to suidae, cattle, equines, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, poultry, and rabbits. With the exception of rabbits, all of these animals are generally considered livestock in nearly all municipalities throughout California.


pigs sleeping

In California, all animals in the Suidae family, which includes both wild and domestic pigs, are classified as livestock or farm animals. However, in most cities across California, it is not permitted to keep pigs in residential areas. So, if you happen to reside in a California city and have the intention of bringing a pig into your home, you need to consult with your local animal authorities beforehand.


four horses

In most California cities, animals in the equine family are classified as livestock. This category includes horses, donkeys, zebras, and mules. If you happen to live in an agriculturally zoned area in California, owning these animals shouldn't be an issue. However, if you reside in a residential area, it's a good idea to double-check your zoning ordinance before bringing home an equine companion.



Cattle are domesticated bovine farm animals that are raised for their meat, milk, hides, or for draft purposes. This group of animals includes cows, buffalo, and bison. However, in California, you can't just hang a cow, buffalo, or bison in your backyard if you live in a residential area. These animals are considered livestock in The Golden State and are primarily allowed in agricultural areas.

Sheep and Goats


In California, the majority of cities categorize sheep and goats as livestock or farm animals. Consequently, owning these creatures within city limits is either strictly prohibited or necessitates obtaining a permit. Take San Francisco, for instance. Here, you're in luck if you want to keep up to two female goats for your family's personal use - no permit required! However, if you're thinking of adding a male goat to the mix or expanding your goat gang beyond two, you'll need to jump through the hoops of obtaining a permit from the Department of Public Health.

Llamas and Alpacas

two Llamas

Llamas and alpacas are domesticated South American camelids, commonly raised for their meat. Despite their close relation and ability to crossbreed, alpacas prefer living in herds, while llamas tend to be more solitary creatures. Interestingly, these mammals are gaining popularity as pets in the United States. However, in California, many municipalities classify llamas and alpacas as livestock or farm animals.


Chicken hens

In the majority of California cities, chickens are classified as livestock. This means that keeping them in urban backyards is either prohibited or necessitates obtaining a permit. However, if you happen to live in a rural or agriculturally zoned area, you won't encounter any obstacles when it comes to raising chickens, whether it's for personal consumption or business purposes.


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