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Backyard Chickens

You can keep up to six hens in your yard if you follow the rules and apply for an annual permit.

Apply for a permit

To keep hens, you must: 

  1. Apply for a Backyard Hen Coop permit. 
  2. Notify your neighbours and fill out the Neighbour Notification Form
  3. Pay the Backyard Hen Coop registration fee. 

If you are looking to renew your Backyard Hen Coop permit you still need to apply but you don’t need to fill the Neighbour Notification Form.

Rules and regulations

These rules are important to protect public health, ensure humane treatment of hens, minimize environmental impact, prevent neighbourhood conflicts, and promote responsible poultry keeping. 

Please carefully read and follow these rules. If you have any questions, Contact Us.

Each year, you must apply for or renew your backyard hen coop permit and pay the registration fee of $29.00 on or before March 31. 

Fees are set each year through our Fees and Charges Bylaw.

  • You can keep a maximum of six hens on any residential property.
  • Hens must be at least four months old.
  • You cannot keep roosters.
  • Hens must stay in their coops from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. 
  • When hens are not in their coop, they must be kept in an enclosed hen run.
  • You cannot sell eggs, manure, or other hen-related products.
  • You cannot slaughter hens at home, and any deceased hens must be disposed of at a livestock disposal facility or through a veterinarian.

  • The owner of the hens must live on the property where they keep the hens.
  • The owner of the hens must notify their neighbours of their intention to apply for a hen coop permit before submitting their application.
  • Tenants must get permission from the property owner before submitting their application.

Hen coops and runs must: 

  • Maintain a minimum distance of 1.2 metres from the rear lot line and 1.2 metres from any side lot line. 
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 3 metres from all windows and doors of dwellings on adjacent properties. 
  • Be positioned at least 15 metres away from any school. 
  • Be positioned at least 7.5 metres away from any church or business. 
  • Be positioned in the backyard. Hen coops are not allowed in any front or side yard. 
  • Be less than 108sq.ft. Anything larger requires a building permit.

  • Hen coops and hen runs must be kept clean and free from unpleasant odours, substances, and vermin. 
  • Manure should be stored in an enclosed structure, such as a compost bin, with no more than 3 cubic feet stored at any time. 
  • Proper disposal of manure must follow municipal by-laws. Hen waste must be in solid form and securely bagged. 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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