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Learn about how to keep backyard hens in the City.

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  • The program enables residents to keep backyard hens
  • The cap of 50 sites was lifted in May 2019
  • All applications will now be processed
  • Permits are not issued from November to March. 

  • Applicants are welcome to go through the Development Permit Approval process and start building their chicken coops and runs prior to being approved if they are submitting their application from November to March. 

  • Applicants will not be able to obtain their hens until the spring, once they have gone through the application process and both their  development permit and licence have been approved.

Application Process

To ensure consistency, all applicants will:

  1. Read the City of Edmonton’s online Urban Hen Keeping Procedures and Guidelines.

  2. Complete an urban hen keeping course that is approved by the City of Edmonton. It is also recommended that for the first year each site have support and assistance from a recognized mentor. 

  3. Prior to submitting an application, every hen keeping applicant must notify their neighbours. Neighbours are defined as those living in adjacent properties abutting to the applicant’s property or those they share a property line with. In the case where neighbouring properties are apartment buildings or businesses, building managers and business owners are to receive the notification letter. This requirement is a notification to neighbours, not a request for permission. Your neighbours have two weeks to respond to the City of Edmonton with any concerns after receiving the letter.
    • Please print off the required number of copies of neighbour notification letters.
    • Please note the date and addresses on copies of the letters that were given out in your application. We do not require that the letters be signed.
    • Please do not submit your online application until you have given your neighbours two weeks to respond to the letter from the date it was sent.  

If you do not submit all required notification letters as a part of your online application, those who did not receive the letter will be given another two weeks to respond so please double check that you have notified all the required properties.

  1. Obtain a Provincial Premise ID (PID). The Province of Alberta requires all owners of poultry (including small urban flocks) to register their flocks into the provincial database and obtain a PID.

  2. Apply for your hen keeping licence. Applicants will be required to submit a site plan showing the actual dimensions of the rear yard of the property and the proposed location and dimensions of the chicken coop and run. 

  3. After an applicant’s hen keeping application has been processed and is complete, their application will be sent to development review. They will be required to apply for an Urban Garden Permit and an Residential Electrical Permit if they plan on hardwiring electrical into their coop. 

  4. Applicants will be issued a licence after they have received development approval to build their coop. 

  5. Set up the site in accordance with the submitted site plan and the Urban Hen Keeping Procedures and Guidelines. 

Background

Program History

In late 2014, the City of Edmonton began to implement an Urban Hen Keeping Pilot Project involving 19 sites. The goal of the pilot was to further understand the impacts of urban hens and to determine good husbandry principles within an urban context. Additionally, the results of the pilot project were intended to gauge the viability and establish a framework for a potential Urban Hen Keeping Program.

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 Urban Hens Pilot Project extension allowed the City to further study the potential issues and concerns that are associated with keeping urban hens. Administration reported back to Council on April 28, 2017 on the results of the extended pilot, reporting that the overall program intention is on track. The results of the pilot 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 and second phases 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.

Related Policies

Essential 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

Hens Licences by Neighbourhood

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For More Information

Animal Care & Control

  • How to apply
  • Application status
  • Concerns about hens
Online Contact 311 Online
Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

Development Services

  • Coop and run location and site requirements

Edmonton Service Centre
2nd Floor
10111 104 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 0J4

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday
8am-4:30pm

Online Contact 311 Online
Telephone

In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

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