Backyard Chicken and Bees

In early 2019, Arapahoe County adopted new regulations for backyard bee and chicken keeping in unincorporated residentially zoned areas. The new rules were developed from a two-year, community-driven process to balance the needs and concerns of residents. 

No special licenses are required for backyard chickens or beekeeping, although residents must adhere to the adopted regulations and may need a building permit for certain improvements.

Beekeeping Bee-Hive

The new regulations allow residential keeping of backyard bees on parcels smaller than one acre in area in single-family detached residential lots. 

  • The number of hive boxes are limited as follows: 
Lot AreaNumber of Hive Boxes

Less than 20,000 square feet


20,000 to 1-acre


1-acre or more


*The following zone districts do not have a hive box limit: A-E, A-1, A-2, and R-A.

  • Hive boxes must be set back 10’ from rear and side property lines.
  • Hive boxes are allowed a maximum of 6’ in height above ground level and up to 10 cubic feet in volume.
  • No flyway is required if hives are at least 25 feet from all property lines. If hives are less than 25 feet, a flyway is required on any side closer than 25 feet from a property line.
  • Residential beekeepers are prohibited from selling honey for commercial purposes.

Download the final, detailed regulations here

Chickens Chickens

The new regulations allow the residential keeping chickens on single-family detached parcels located outside agricultural districts.

  • Residents are limited to four hens. Roosters
    and additional fowl are prohibited.
  • Hens must be kept in coops from dusk to dawn (overnight). The animals must be fully contained to the owner’s property at all times, behind the front building line.
  • Residents must control odor, noise, dust, waste and drainage needs so as not to constitute a nuisance, safety hazard or health problem.
  • The maximum coop height is six feet from the ground. The recommended indoor coop floor space is three square feet per bird. All coops must meet applicable building code requirements; a permit may be required for coops larger than 120 square feet in area.
  • All coops and chicken runs must be set back 10’ from side and rear property lines.
  • Residential chicken keepers cannot commercial sell eggs or slaughter hens on the property.

Download the final, detailed regulations here

Resident Tools

Get expert tips from CSU Extension on the best practices for bee and chicken keeping. 

Incorporated Areas, Homeowner Associations

Do these regulations apply to you? Check ArapaMap to confirm your address is located in unincorporated Arapahoe County. 

Some municipalities already allow bees and chickens within their jurisdiction; refer to the respective city’s website. Homeowner associations also have the ability to implement more restrictive policies than the county.

The County’s Zoning and Animal Services Division is responsible for ensuring code compliance and pursuing enforcement. When a complaint is received, residents typically receive a courtesy or violation notice, which provides homeowners 14 – 30 days to address the issue.