Backyard Hens

On February 26, 2024, Council adopted an amendment to the Animal Control and Licence Bylaw No. 1965 to permit backyard hens in Sidney on eligible properties. Background information on the bylaw amendment can be found in the February 12, 2024 Staff Report to Council.

Some key regulations include the following:

  • Residents must apply for and obtain a Hen Keeping Permit from the Town prior to acquiring the chickens ($100 application fee required).
  • A maximum of five hens are permitted. No roosters or chicks are permitted.
  • Minimum lot size: 550 square metres.
  • Minimum setbacks: 3m from side and rear lot lines; 4.5m from any residential door or window.
  • The hen enclosure must be maintained in good repair.

The above regulations are not exhaustive. Please review the Animal Control and Licence Bylaw No. 1965 for all hen-keeping requirements.

Backyard Hen Application Now Available

Considering getting backyard hens? Learn more about the application process below.

Please review the following bylaws:

  • Animal Control and Licence Bylaw No. 1965: to confirm your property is eligible for keeping backyard hens (see section 5.3).
    • Make sure an appropriately sized Hen Enclosure could fit in your rear yard in compliance with the required setbacks.
  • Zoning Bylaw: to identify your “rear lot line” and “rear yard.” Hen Enclosures are only permitted in the rear yard of your property.

Hen keeping is only permitted on properties 550 square metres or larger. If you are not sure of your lot size, you can find this information on SidneyMap.

This is a good time to learn more about hen keeping best practices to make sure you are ready to properly care for these animals and maintain a Hen Enclosure in good condition.

Once you have determined your property is eligible for hen keeping, please complete the following steps:

  1. Download and review the Hen Keeping Permit Application Form.
  2. If you are not the property owner, complete the Property Owner Consent Form.
  3. Create the site plan for your Hen Enclosure in compliance Town bylaws. Please identify proposed dimensions and setback measurements on the plans.
  4. Fill out and sign the Hen Keeping Permit Application form linked above.

Once you have completed your Hen Keeping Permit Application, submit all required forms and plans to the Town of Sidney Development Services Department.

Complete applications can be submitted in person at Town Hall or via email to

Once your complete application is received, staff will email you a link to submit your application fee payment of $100. Staff will not review your application until the $100 application fee is provided.

Following payment of the $100 application fee, staff will review your application to ensure it meets bylaw requirements. If your property is eligible for hen keeping but your proposed site plan does not meet bylaw requirements, staff may contact you to revise and resubmit your plans.

If approved:

  • You will be notified of your application approval, and you can come to Town Hall to pick up your permit.

If your Hen Keeping Permit Application was approved, you can now move forward with building your Hen Enclosure as proposed in your application.

Once your Hen Enclosure is built, you can bring home your hens. A maximum of five (5) hens is permitted, however a minimum of three (3) hens is recommended for their social well-being. No roosters or chicks are permitted.

Once you have acquired your hens, you are required to register your flock with the BC Premises Identification Program.