You can keep up to four chickens in backyard coops. To keep chickens, you need to apply for a permit and pay a $50 fee.

Apply for a permit

On this page:

  1. Apply for a permit
  2. Chicken coop regulations
  3. Avian Influenza (bird flu)
  4. Neighbour consent
  5. Animal bylaw

Apply for a permit

Before you keep chickens in your backyard, you must:

The property inspection is to check the distance of your chicken coop from the property line and to ensure other regulations are met.


Chicken coop regulations

Chicken coops must be:

  • 2.5m away from side yard lot lines
  • 1.2m away from rear lot lines

If there is not enough room for the distances listed above, you must get consent from your neighbours.

Use the accordions below to find further regulations on backyard chicken coops.

Backyard chicken regulations
  • Maximum of 4 chickens
  • No Roosters
  • Sales of eggs, manure and other products associated with the keeping of chickens are not allowed
  • Home slaughter of chickens is not allowed
  • An application must be submitted to the City prior to obtaining chickens a one-time fee of $50 to cover the cost of processing the application and the Officer’s time inspecting the property to ensure compliance
  • Inspection of the property must occur prior to approval for chickens to ensure setbacks and proper construction of coop
  • Chickens must be kept in an enclosed run when not in their coop
  • Chickens must be contained on owners property at all times
  • Chickens must be banded with owner contact information
  • Owner of chickens must reside on the property where they are kept
  • Rental properties – written permission from the owner must be obtained
  • All other by-laws will still apply, for example, noise, animal regulations, lot maintenance, property standards.
Setback regulations
  • 1.2m from rear lot line
  • 2.5m from a side lot line
  • 2.5m from a rear lot line abutting a side yard
  • Chicken coops are not permitted in a front yard
  • Existing sheds/garages can be used for the hen house, only the portion actually used to house hens shall be required to meet the setback requirements.  
  • Runs and exterior portions of the coop must meet the setback regulations
  • Multi-residential properties such as apartments are not permitted to have chickens
  • If the 2.5m setback cannot be achieved, written permission shall be supplied to By-law Enforcement by all owners and all adult occupants of the adjoining property, the placement of the coop will be permitted based on written consent.
  • An owner or adult occupant of an adjoining property may withdraw consent to the placement of a hen coop or run that is closer to their property than the required 2.5m setback, if they notify the City in writing.  The owner will have to remove or relocate the coop within a permitted area by the later of November 1 of that calendar year or six (6) months following the date of notification being given.
Coop regulations and sanitation 

Structure

  • Coop must provide protection from weather and be adequately ventilated
  • The enclosed coop and run shall be constructed and maintained in a manner to exclude rodents and predators from entry
  • When chicken wire is used as part of or all of the run enclosure, the openings of the chicken wire shall not be larger than a half inch
  • The chicken wire should also be buried into the ground surrounding the coop/run at a minimum of 6 inches to help prevent rodents from burrowing into the run area

Interior

  • The floor must be constructed of a material that is resistant to moisture, mould, retain heat in the cold weather and exclude rodents and predators
  • The floors must be lined with shavings, straw or other appropriate materials to absorb manure and facilitate cleaning
  • Chicken boxes and a perch must be provided to accommodate all hens
  • Dust bath area must be provided (helps control mites)

Cleaning

  • The coop must be maintained in a clean condition and shall be kept free of odours
  • The coop must be deep cleaned 2- 3 times a year which includes disinfecting of troughs, perches and nests
  • Manure must be cleaned out daily and stored in a secured container or composter in accordance with compost regulations

Food and water

  • Feeders and water containers must be provided, cleaned regularly and disinfected
  • Feed must be stored in rodent proof containers and secured at all times to prevent rodents and other animals from accessing it

Deceased chickens

  • Deceased chickens must be disposed of at a livestock disposal facility or through the services of a veterinarian, or through a facility as approved by the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs

Avian Influenza (bird flu)

Avian Influenza, commonly known as the bird flu, is a viral infection that spreads easily and quickly among birds. This virus can affect several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), as well as pet and wild birds.

Signs and symptoms

Infected birds may show one or more of the following signs:

  • lack of energy, movement or appetite
  • decreased egg production
  • swelling around the head, neck and eyes
  • coughing, gasping for air or sneezing
  • nervous signs, tremors or lack of coordination
  • diarrhea
  • sudden death

In rare cases, humans can become infected. Find more information about risks to humans on Health Canada's website.

Keep your birds safe

Follow these tips to protect your backyard chickens from the bird flu:

  • prevent contact with wild birds and other animals
  • frequently clean poultry coops, waterers, feeders, your clothing and your boots
  • spot the signs of Avian Influenza and report early to a veterinarian or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • limit exposure to visitors
  • separate birds, their water and food from wild birds

Learn more on the CFIA's website


Neighbour consent

If your property does not have enough room for a 2.5 metre distance from your property line, you need to ask your neighbours to consent to the chicken coop.

Print off our neighbour consent form and get the signatures of your immediate neighbours (with whom you share a property line). Return the form to bylaw enforcement staff by email.

Download the neighbour consent form


Animal bylaw

Review our full animal bylaw to learn more about backyard chickens.