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Waterloo city staff to recommend allowing backyard chicken coops

They would be subject to many regulations
(stock photo)

Backyard hens could soon be a reality in the city of Waterloo.

City staff are expected to recommend council amend a bylaw that would allow the keeping of backyard hens, subject to regulation. 

It comes following a survey on the Engage Waterloo website, which garnered 527 responses. Of those, 63 per cent were in favour, 32 per cent against, and 5 per cent undecided. 

Staff are recommending a permit for those wanting to participate in the residential project, and the following rules: 

  • A maximum of four hens
  • Roosters not permitted
  • The sale of eggs and other products associated with the keeping of hens not
  • permitted
  • Home slaughter of hens not permitted
  • Hens must be banded with owner contact information
  • Application and subsequently a permit from the city would be required in addition to a one-time inspection
  • Rental properties must have permission from the owners
  • Setbacks for coops: 1.2m from rear lot line, 2.5m from side lot line
  • Grading of lot shall not allow run-off to neighbouring yards
  • The bylaw would include a definition of hens as being of the Gallus domesticus species (domestic hens)

Approval of the amended bylaw would be set for May 31. Other options include making it a pilot project, only allowing single family residences, increased setback, minimum lot size, gathering further information, or not going forward with the project. 


Ben Eppel

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