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
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
- 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
- Complete and submit your permit application form, application fee, and a site plan showing where the coop (enclosure) will be placed on your lot
- 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
- Install electric fencing around your coop and run
- When your coop is completed, contact us to arrange an inspection
- Once staff review and pass your coop and fence, you can get your hens
- 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 building your coop and enclosure
You must provide an enclosed coop no larger than 5 sq m (53.8 sq.ft.). It must be built and maintained to prevent vermin from living beneath it or within its walls, and to prevent other animals from entering it.
You must also provide a run (connected outdoor space) that provides at least .4 sq m (4.3 sq ft) of space per hen. The run must be built to prevent the escape of hens, and access by other animals, and located in an area that provides shade, direct sunlight, good drainage, and protection from wind.
The entire coop and run must be surrounded in electric fencing designed and maintained in accordance with the electric fencing guidelines of the WildSafeBC program
Review the WildSafeBC guidelines
Requirements for placing your coop
This diagram shows the minimum distance your coop must be placed away from your house, and back and side property lines.
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.
Bylaws, fees, forms
- Hen permit application form
- Hen permit fees
- Bylaw 8211, "Keeping of Domestic Hens" bylaw
- Bylaw 6481, "Fees and Charges Bylaw" (fees for hen permits)
- Bylaw 7458, "Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw" (fines for not following the rules)
Caring for hens
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.
- FarmFolk CityFolk (general chicken care)
- eHow chicken care video series (general chicken care)
- Seattle Tilth Alliance (composting chicken manure)