Backyard chicken (hen) permit

You need a permit if you want to keep domestic chickens (hens) in your back yard.

Who can apply

Anyone living in a single family residential (RS) zone can apply for a backyard hen permit.

Look up your property to see if you are in an RS zone

Yearly renewals

Your hen permit must be renewed each year. Upon renewal, you will be required to have your enclosure and fencing reviewed by staff to ensure it still meets bylaw regulations.

How to apply

How to apply

  1. Review all of the information on this page, in the domestic hen bylaw (8211), and in the associated fees and fines bylaws (8222 and 8224) to be sure you understand all of the requirements
  2. Complete and submit your permit application form, application fee, and a site plan showing where the coop (enclosure) will be placed on your lot
  3. After staff review your site plan to confirm your coop complies to required setbacks, your permit will be issued, and you can begin building your coop
  4. Install electric fencing around your coop and run
  5. When your coop is completed, contact us to arrange an inspection
  6. Once staff review and pass your coop and fence, you can get your hens

Requirements

General requirements

  • You can keep from two to six hens
  • No roosters are permitted, nor are hens younger than four months
  • You are not permitted to sell the eggs or slaughter the hens
  • You need to apply for a permit, which must be renewed annually

Requirements for your coop and enclosure

Building your enclosure (coop)

You must provide an enclosed coop with a run of at least 0.4 m2 (4.3 sq. ft.) per hen. The coop should not be larger than 5 m2 (53.8 sq.ft.), but it should be at least 2 m (6.5 ft.) high.

It should have:  

  • a sloped, waterproof roof that does not collect or hold heat
  • a wooden floor at least 0.3 m (1 ft.) above grade, or a concrete floor
  • at least one nest box
  • at least one perch for each hen, at least 0.25 m (.8 ft.) long

In addition, the coop must be built and maintained to prevent vermin from living beneath it or within its walls, and to prevent other animals from entering it.

It must also have electric fencing designed and maintained in accordance with the electric fencing guidelines of the WildSafeBC program

Review the WildSafeBC guidelines 

Placing your coop

The coop must be placed:

  • in your rear yard, at least 1.2 m (3.9 feet) from the rear lot line
  • 1.5 m (4.9 feet) from the interior lot line
  • 1.2 m (3.9 feet) from your home

Building your run

The run must have a floor consisting of any combination of vegetation (grass, for example) or bare earth, with at least 1 m2 (10 sq. ft.) of floor area per hen.

The run must also be:

  • built to prevent the escape of hens, and access by other animals
  • located in an area that provides shade, direct sunlight, good drainage, and protection from wind

There are additional requirements. Please review the complete bylaw before you apply. 

Caring for hens

In-person instruction

In partnership with the Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Club and the North Shore Black Bear Society, we will be hosting annual hen workshops, the first of which will be held in the spring of 2018.

The purpose of these workshops is to provide you with information you need to keep hens healthy and safe. You will also learn how to minimize any nuisances in order to maintain good neighbour relationships. 

We will add these workshop dates to the event calendar here on our website as dates become available.

Questions about chickens?

If you'd like to connect with others who have, or are interested in keeping, backyard chickens, you can join the Facebook group for the Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK). Cluck is a non-profit organization.

CLUCK Facebook group

Online resources