Urban Hens Pilot Project
Edmonton's urban hens pilot project has been eggstended!
On March 7, 2016, the City of Edmonton’s Community Services Committee agreed with City staff to extend the Urban Hens Pilot Project for another year and to increase the total number of Urban Hen Keeping Licences from 19 to 50. The extension will allow the City to further study the potential issues and concerns that are associated with keeping urban hens. We will report back to Council in a year on the results of the extended pilot. The results of the pilot will help to ensure that there are appropriate regulations, care and management of urban hens in Edmonton.
Thank you to all the residents who participated in the first phase of the Urban Hens Pilot Project, and to the River City Chickens Collective for supporting the project! For more details about the findings of the first phase of the pilot, please review the report and attachments that were presented to City Council on March 7, 2016.
This initiative aligns with fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy, which recommends that the City “examine opportunities for citizens to keep bees and raise hens” (Strategic Direction 3, p.35) by “partner[ing] with local non-profits to assist in the evaluation of the implications of allowing urban backyard hens”.
Thank you for the overwhelming positive response! We are handling applications for Urban Hen Keeping Licenses on a first come, first served basis. All applications beyond the number of licenses available will be added to a waiting list in the order that they are received.
Step 1: Review the Guidelines
It takes commitment and responsibility to care for hens.
The City of Edmonton’s Urban Hen Keeping Procedures and Guidelines help residents understand what is required to be a safe and successful hen keeper in the city.
Step 2: Register for Introductory Course
Next Course: Chickens 101
Date: Sunday April 24, 2016
Location: Edmonton Room, Stanley A. Milner Library
Instructors: River City Chickens Collective
Each hen keeper must complete an introductory urban hen keeping course that is specific to an Alberta context. You will be required to take a competency test before the end of your first year (more details will be shared with successful applicants). It is also recommended that each Licencee have support and assistance from a recognized mentor for their first year of hen keeping.
Step 3: Submit Your Application
Cost: $50-$91 for a one-time development permit
*Note: additional building permits may be required in some circumstances.
To fulfill City of Edmonton licence and permit requirements, your application must include:
- Certificate of completion (or equivalent confirmation of completion) of an urban hen keeping course.
- Permission from the property owner. If you are not the owner of the property on which you plan to keep hens, please include a signed letter of permission from the property owner.
- A site plan showing accurate property dimensions, the proposed location (or area if the coop is movable) and dimension of the chicken coop and run, and setbacks from the property line as well as from any other structures/buildings on the property (including the distance between the house and coop, distance between the coop and garage, and any other structures on site). Sample site plan
- Proposed hen breed and number of hens. You must keep a minimum of three hens and shall not exceed eight hens per site. The recommended number is three to six. Roosters are not permitted
- Proof of neighbour notification must be included in order to receive an Urban Hen Keeping Licence. Please print off the required number of copies of neighbour notification letters and have each neighbour* sign one. Submit all signed letters as part of your application. If a neighbour refuses to sign, or cannot be reached, please indicate that on the letter. Neighbour notification letter
*Neighbours are defined as the owner of each property abutting the applicant’s property, including those who live across a lane, but not across a street. In the case where neighbouring properties are apartment buildings, building managers are to receive the notification letter.
In person applications can be made by visiting the:
Permits and Licensing Service Centre
5th floor, 10250 - 101 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 3P4
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday
8am to 4:30pm
In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311
Step 4: Build Your Coop and Run
Approximate cost: $500*
*Cost depends on how you source materials. A coop and run built from recycled materials could cost $0, while one built from new material could cost over $1000.
Once your application has been approved, set up your coop and run in accordance with the submitted site plan and the Urban Hen Keeping Procedures and Guidelines.
Step 5: Premises Identification Program (PID)
As part of the Province of Alberta’s Animal Health Act, owners of poultry (including small urban flocks) must have a and premises identification number for your hens. This requirement is a part of a traceability system designed to address potential threats of disease outbreaks that could affect animal health, public health and food safety.
Step 6: Final Site Inspection and Approval
Notify the City once all the above steps have been completed and hens have been obtained and secured. City Animal Control Peace Officers will inspect the site to ensure that all guidelines and requirements have been followed, and band and confirm hen breeds. Adjustments may need to be made if any significant issues are noted, prior to issuing a final licence.
Congratulations! You now have your Urban Hen Keeping Licence!
You now hold an Urban Hen Keeping Licence, on the condition that you pass a mid-term competency test (to be administered later in 2016). You are responsible to care for your hens and site in accordance with the Urban Hen Keeping Procedures and Guidelines.
You will be held accountable for the health and welfare of your hens. Failure to provide them with humane care could be considered an act of cruelty and could result in fines and/or charges.
Coop and Run Location and the Zoning Bylaw
Standard setback requirements are outlined in the Zoning Bylaw. As hen coops and enclosed chicken runs are considered as Accessory Buildings, applicants must comply with the Zoning Bylaw regulations. The Zoning Bylaw requires that an accessory structure be located:
- a minimum of 0.9m from a side property line,
- 18.0m from a front property line, and,
- 0.9m from any other buildings on the site.
Poultry keeping is enforced under Section 27 of the Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw, 13145. Failing to comply with the terms and conditions of an Urban Hen Keeping Licence may result in a fine of $100, or a licence being revoked. Keeping hens without a licence will result in a $500 fine.
If you are concerned about hens on a neighbouring property, please contact an Animal Control Peace Officer by dialing 311. They will respond to your concerns and initiate investigations when warranted. The goal of Animal Control is to bring people into compliance by working with hen keepers, neighbours, and other external stakeholders to ensure they are addressed and resolved in a timely manner.
For More Information