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Backyard hens (chickens)

We are considering adopting a bylaw that would allow you to keep hens (female chickens) in your back yard, and would like your input.

Council approved the final bylaw on Monday, Sept 11, 2017. We will begin accepting permit applications for backyard hens the week of September 18, 2017. All the information you need to apply for your permit will be available on this page.

The draft bylaw includes these provisions:

  • Only 2 – 6 hens allowed (no roosters)
  • A permit with annual fee is required
  • The enclosure must be inspected annually by us
  • Hens must be housed in a properly constructed chicken coop, and enclosed in electric fence
  • Hens will only be permitted on properties zoned Single Family Residential
  • Coops and food will have to be properly maintained to prevent access by wildlife or other animals
  • Chicken waste will not be allowed in residential garbage or organic waste (must be composted)

Please take a few minutes to review the information on this page, which includes the draft bylaw document, and then tell us what you think.

Draft bylaw and other documents

Download the draft bylaw and related materials

Review related Council materials

Details of the draft bylaw

Details of the draft bylaw

The draft bylaw includes a number of proposed elements intended to protect public health and safety, minimize conflicts with neighbours, and minimize issues with rodents and wildlife.

Element Benefit
Enclosure and safety Minimizes conflicts with neighbours, reduces odour, manages rodents and wildlife, and allows for the humane keeping of chickens, by regulating how enclosures must be constructed and sited on a property
Feed security Manages rodents and wildlife by regulating how chicken feed must be stored
Waste disposal Protects public health and reduces odour by regulating the disposal of feed, trash, manure, and dead chickens
Prohibitions Helps maintain public health and minimize local nuisance, by prohibiting roosters, hens under four months old, the sale of eggs, meat or manure, and the slaughter of chickens on the property
Enforcement Empowers animal welfare officers to address complaints, and deal with stray hens

Process and timeline

Process and timeline

What we have done so far

  • June 25, 2012 — Staff asked Council to provide direction regarding backyard hens. Council directed staff to take no further action until the District developed a more comprehensive food policy.
  • July 4, 2016 — Staff returned to Council to request direction regarding backyard hens. Council directed staff to prepare a draft bylaw for consideration.
  • November 16, 2016 — Staff presented the draft bylaw, "Keeping of Domestic Hens," to Council.
  • April 7, 2017 — Deadline for the public to provide comments on the new bylaw.
  • July 24, 2017 — Draft bylaw presented to Council for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd reading.