Can You Own a Goat in Michigan?

a pet goat

In Michigan, as in many other states, goats are classified as livestock or farm animals, and their ownership is typically restricted in residential areas. If you reside in an agricultural zone, owning goats should not pose a problem. However, in urban or residential areas, you need to verify with local zoning laws before considering goats as pets in your backyard.

Essentially, the permissibility of owning goats in Michigan hinges on your specific location and the corresponding zoning regulations. To provide some insight, below are examples of various Michigan cities and their respective laws pertaining to keeping goats within city limits.


In the City of Detroit, the keeping of goats is permitted, but you must adhere to specific requirements outlined in the city's zoning code. According to these regulations, property owners are allowed to have a maximum of four goats that are over one year of age on their premises, with a minimum of two goats required.

Each goat must have a shelter space of at least 20 square feet, as well as an outdoor pen space of 50 square feet. Additionally, there must be a 10-foot setback from all property lines, and a 50-foot setback from neighboring dwellings for the outdoor pen space. Furthermore, a 5-foot setback is required for the pen space from your own dwelling.


If you are a resident of the City of Dearborn, Michigan, it is a requirement under the City Code that you obtain a permit from the Director of Residential Services before keeping goats on your property. Once granted the permit, it is imperative that you do not allow your goats to roam freely or create any disturbances that may affect your neighbors or any individuals in the vicinity.

Furthermore, any structure built for the purpose of housing goats must not be erected within 25 feet of any dwelling. Prior approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals is necessary before constructing such a structure, and compliance with all relevant ordinances is mandatory.

City of Troy

The City of Troy permits the ownership of farm animals, including backyard goats. However, in order to have goats on your property, you must first obtain a $150 animal permit from the City Clerk. Prior to being granted the permit, you must demonstrate that the goats will be treated with care and respect, and will not be neglected or subjected to cruelty. Additionally, you must show that the goats will be housed in secure quarters to prevent their escape, and that you will take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both the public and the goats.


Residents of Westland, MI are required to possess a minimum of one-half acre of land in order to keep goats on their property. Furthermore, the City Code mandates that pens, corral fences, or similar enclosures for goats must be situated at a minimum distance of 20 feet from adjacent property lines and 40 feet from any dwelling.


In order to keep goats within the City of Kalamazoo, you must own a property that is a minimum of two acres in size. The City Code mandates that goats must be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner, devoid of any unpleasant odors, and housed within a fully enclosed area with a suitable fence or enclosure to prevent them from roaming freely. Any deviations from these regulations can only be granted with written authorization from the Chief of Public Safety.


The City of Kentwood, MI permits the keeping of domestic animals, including goats, with the review and approval of the Zoning Administrator. However, your request may be denied if the Zoning Administrator determines that keeping goats would result in a nuisance, such as odor, noise, or any other disturbance. For further information, please consult Kentwood Zoning Ordinance Section 3.12.

Battle Creek

The City of Battle Creek permits the keeping of goats in both agricultural and residential zoning districts, subject to specific conditions. Goats are allowed on single and two-family residential parcels as long as they are accessory to a permitted residential use and housed on the premises occupied by the owner.

As outlined in the City Urban Livestock Draft, the number of goats that can be owned is determined by the size of the property. However, a minimum of two dwarf or miniature goats must be kept in a backyard. Acceptable breeds include Nigerian Dwarfs, African Pygmy Goats, The Kinder, Mini Dairy Goats, and Swiss Alpine Goats. It is required that goats be kept in an enclosure in the rear yard that provides at least 100 square feet of space for each goat.


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