Site Requirements for Hen Coop and Run 

  • Hen enclosures may only be located in backyards of properties that are completely fenced and secure. Fence height is required to be 6 feet. Some properties, due to the smaller size of a backyard or other situational factors, may not be deemed suitable for urban hen keeping through the application process. Fencing must meet guidelines as specified in the Fence/Privacy Screening Permit.

  • Proposed sites should minimize impacts to adjacent neighbours (away from bedroom windows, the furthest point from building).

  • If applicants plan on hardwiring electrical into their coop, they will need to apply for a Residential Electrical Permit. 

  • An approved site may house only one coop and run, and they must be in compliance with program guidelines. Consultation with a Development Officer/ Planner is recommended before purchasing or installing an accessory structure. Standard setback requirements are outlined in the program guidelines. The program guidelines require that an accessory structure be located: 

    • A minimum of 0.9m from a side property line, 

    • A minimum of 18.0m from a front property line, 

    • A minimum of 0.6m from the rear property line, and, 

    • A minimum of 0.9m from any other buildings on the site. 

Hen Requirements 

  • Approved sites must keep a minimum of three hens and shall not exceed six hens per site

  • Roosters are not permitted

  • Hen numbers shall be indicated in the application process

  • Young hens, also called pullets, shall not be younger than 16 weeks old

  • All hens must remain in the coop or an enclosed run unless directly supervised where they must then stay on the Licensed property

Hen Enclosure Requirements  

Hen Enclosure Requirements

General Guidelines On Hens Structure

  • Coop area must be minimum 4sqft per hen (0.37m2) with direct access to the run. (Coop area is permitted to overlap or be raised above run area)

  • Run area must be minimum 10sqft per hen (0.93m2)

  • Adjustable ventilation of 0.5-1sqft per hen (0.046-0.093m2). Adequate ventilation in the run and coop area is important to reduce moisture and mitigate the conditions that contribute to frostbite. Pre-made coops and runs may need to be modified to ensure proper ventilation and insulation.

  • A minimum of 1nest box per 4 hens (12 x 12 inches in size)

  •  8 - 12 inches of roost space per hen is required. Roosts must be 2.5 - 3.5 inches wide and have smooth, rounded edges.

  • All coops must be fully insulated, and draft free.

  • All runs must provide shade, be full roofed and enclosed.

  • In winter, runs must be wrapped with a wind- and snow-resistant material. 

  • All hen enclosures must be predator-resistant.

  • Must meet city regulations equivalent to a shed:

    • Less than 108sqft (10m2)

    • Not attached to a house or any other building

    • Not connected to electricity, plumbing or gas lines

    • Meets height restrictions (roof midpoint less than 14.1 feet (4.3m)

Standard of Care 

  • Hen sites shall adhere to good management and husbandry practices, maintain hens in such a condition so as to prevent distress, disease, and welfare issues

  • Hens require appropriate food, liquid (unfrozen) water, shelter, light, warmth, ventilation, veterinary care and opportunities for essential behaviours such as scratching, pecking, dust-bathing and roosting, in order to be comfortable and healthy

  • Animal Control must be notified immediately of any disease or welfare issues that arise that may affect the public and the steps taken to rectify the situation

Nuisance Conditions 

  • The site and coop must be properly maintained to prevent negative impacts, including but not limited to: attracting nuisance animals, the spread of food over the property, and excessive smells or noise

Waste Disposal 

  • Manure must be removed, discarded, and/or properly composted to prevent nuisance orders

  • Deceased birds should be double-bagged and placed for garbage collection or taken to a veterinarian for disposal

Flock Changes 

  • Slaughtering of hens is not permitted within city limits. Within city limits hens may only be euthanized at a veterinary practice.

  • Removal methods include humane euthanasia by a veterinarian, relocation to a farm, or taking hens to a licensed abattoir.


  • The Licensee(s) shall make themselves and the coops available for inspection on reasonable request from Animal Control Peace Officers

Provincial Registration and Disease Prevention

  • The Licensee must comply with all Provincial regulations around the keeping of hens as outlined by the Animal Health Act. 

  • The Province of Alberta requires all owners of poultry, including small urban flocks, to register their flocks into the provincial database and obtain a Premise Identification (PID) Number. The PID enables the province to keep track of livestock site locations in case of potential disease outbreak.

  • The Province will maintain communication with site owners should any information or incidents occur that would require site owners to take action. Additionally, if any disease outbreaks occur, applicants must immediately notify the City via 311 and provide the details of the outbreak and the steps taken to rectify the issue.


  • Poultry keeping is enforced under Section 27 of the Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw 13145. 

  • Slaughtering or euthanizing hens is not permitted on an applicant’s site or within City limits. 

  • Removal methods include, but are not limited to, humane euthanasia by a veterinarian, relocation to a farm, or taking hens to a licensed abattoir.

  • Animal Control Peace Officers will respond to all complaints and initiate investigations when warranted.

  •  When enforcement or other animal husbandry issues arise, City administration will work with the licensee(s), neighbours, and other external stakeholders to ensure they are addressed and resolved in a timely manner. 

  • 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. If a licence is revoked, the licensee(s) will be required to relocate the hens to a location outside the City of Edmonton at their own expense.

  • Keeping hens without a licence will result in a $500 fine. 

  • Egg production is for self-consumption. No sale of eggs is permitted.

  • All public complaints shall be directed through 311; this reporting approach is consistent with the City of Edmonton bylaw complaint process. 

Legislative Authorities  

  • Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw, 13145

  • Municipal Government Act 

  • The Animal Health Act

Information for Program Participants

Additional Resources

Why Keep Chickens? Top Reasons to Keep Chickens and Chicken Myths Busted
Source: River City Chickens Collective

Raising Chickens in Alberta: a Guide for Small Flock Owners
Source: Poultry Research Centre and Government of Alberta, 2015

How to Prevent and Detect Disease in Backyard Flocks and Pet Birds
Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Protecting Your Flock from Avian Influenza
Source: Alberta Agriculture, 2015

Animal Welfare

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.


Egg production is for self-consumption. No sale of eggs is permitted.

Poultry Manure

Manure must be removed, discarded, and /or properly composted to prevent nuisance orders. The City of Edmonton has resources and workshops on composting that can support you. 

Public Complaints

All public complaints shall be directed through 311; this reporting approach is consistent with the City of Edmonton bylaw complaint process.