Residents can now apply for a permit to raise and care for backyard hens within the city of Cold Lake.
This spring, City Council passed the Urban Hen Keeping bylaw and amended the Animal Care and Control bylaw, permitting residents to apply for a licence to install backyard coops and raise hens on private property.
After conducting thorough research and studying how other Alberta municipalities have implemented similar urban hen programs, City administration designed a bylaw that addresses concerns brought forward by Council and establishes regulations for those considering raising urban hens. Among the regulations mandated in the bylaw, hen keepers must:
- Be at least 18 years old,
- Successfully complete an accredited hen keeping training course,
- Apply for, be granted, and pay the fee for a City urban hen keeping licence,
- Notify all adjoining neighbours of their intent to apply for a hen keeping licence and to keep hens on their property,
- Keep no more than 4 hens (roosters are prohibited on non-agricultural land),
- Provide and maintain a secure coop with warmth, ventilation, food and water, veterinary care and opportunities for hens to socialize with one another,
- Not sell eggs or meat harvested from their hens.
“Raising backyard hens allows families to know exactly where their food is coming from and it gives young people an opportunity for valuable, hands-on learning when it comes to raising livestock,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “We really encourage anyone thinking about applying for a licence to be certain that they have the time and patience to dedicate to their operation. This bylaw was designed with several requirements in place to ensure that these backyard operations can be successful and rewarding, without causing a disturbance to neighbours.”
The City is partnering with Alberta Farm Animal Care to provide a two-part virtual training workshop for residents interested in raising hens. Completion of an accredited training program is one requirement for obtaining a licence. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 29 from 7-9 p.m. via Zoom. Topics covered in the workshop include:
- Animal handling
- Flock health
- Coop design
- Bylaws and licencing requirements
- Breeds and diseases
- Associated costs
Those unable to attend the live sessions can still register via the registration link and access the workshop video recordings for up to three months. Participants must pass a quiz in order to receive their certificate of completion.
Important to note, completion of the required training and submission of an application does not necessarily guarantee approval of a permit. The City will grant a limited number of hen keeping licences each year.
For more information about the Urban Hen Keeping program, licencing or the training workshop, contact the City of Cold Lake Planning and Development department at 780-594-4494 or online at www.coldlake.com.
Register for the online training workshop in partnership with Alberta Farm Animal Care.