New Bylaw Allows Residents To Keep Backyard Hens

Last night City Council approved an 18-month pilot project to test-drive a bylaw allowing Kingston residents to keep up to six egg-laying backyard hens.

Anyone wishing to keep backyard hens must first fill out an application to register with the Building & Licensing Division at City Hall, 216 Ontario St. Applications for a permit to keep a hen coop are available at .

Those considering keeping backyard hens will need to fully understand the applicable regulations and responsibilities. Here’s a run-down of what is required of those keeping a hen coop:

  • The license fee for a hen coop is $10 (or in accordance with and changes to the fees and licensing bylaw) renewable each calendar year, on or before December 31, with the Building and Licensing Department.
  • All hens must be at least four months old to ensure you are not getting a rooster.
  • A maximum of 6 hens are permitted on any residential property and only on residential property.
  • A tenant must obtain permission from the property owner to keep hens on the owner’s property and the owner of the hens must reside on the property where the hens are kept.
  • Hens must be in their coops between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Hens can be in their run outside of these hours. Hens are not permitted to be at large (outside their coop or run) at any time.
  • A coop is a fully enclosed weather proof building where hens are kept and includes nest boxes for egg laying, perches for the hens to sleep on and food and water containers. Only one coop is permitted per property.
  • A hen run is a covered secure enclosure attached to the coop to allow hens to be outdoors.
  • Hen coops and runs must be at least 1.2m from the rear or side lot line, 15m from any school, 7.5m from a church or business, and 3m from all windows and doors of abutting properties and they are not permitted in front or side yards.
  • Eggs and manure can not be sold.
  • Home slaughter of hens is prohibited. Deceased hens shall be disposed of at a livestock disposal facility or through the services of a veterinarian.
  • Hen coops and runs must be clean and free of obnoxious odours substances and vermin. Stored manure shall be kept in an enclosed structure and no more than three cubic feet shall be stored at any one time. Manure must be disposed of in accordance with Municipal bylaws – no waste the consistency of “swill” (sloppy liquid mixture) is to be collected. This means that hen waste would have to be solid, and it would need to bagged.
  • Applicants for coops will need to make abutting neighbours aware that they are applying to keep a coop. If neighbours refuse to sign a document verifying that they have been made aware of plans for a chicken coop, or refuse to confirm that they have received notification, then the applicant can swear an affidavit that they have notified their neighbours.

Media contact information: Cindie Ashton, Communications Officer, 613-546-4291, ext. 3116 (cell 329-3462). Or call the City of Kingston’s media hotline at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.

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  1. TedSmitts June 8, 2011
  2. Terry Bridges August 15, 2011

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