Backyard Hens Licence

Chickens grazing in grass

Prior to purchasing or installing any hens on a residential property, an application must be filed by the landowner before the licence is issued. Certain criteria must be met before obtaining a licence a site plan must be drawn up.

On this page

  1. Backyard Hens Licence Overview
  2. Conditions and Requirements
  3. Coop and Run Minimum Standards
  4. Compliance and Enforcement

Backyard Hens Licence Overview

The Township of Champlain adopted a by-law to initiate a pilot program for backyard hens. This new pilot program will allow as many as four (4) hens in residential yards in village areas of L’Orignal and Vankleek Hill, and rural residential areas of West Hawkesbury and Longueuil under certain conditions. Licences will be issued on a "first come, first served" basis to a maximum of 30 licences. Please make sure to read through all the information and requirements before submitting an application for a licence.

The backyard hens licence is issued for a period of up to 18 consecutive months and costs $50.

Conditions and Requirements

A minimum residential lot area of 500m2 is required to be eligible for a backyard hens licence. 

Backyard hens licences will only be issued for a period not exceeding eighteen (18) consecutive months. Champlain Township reserves the right to cancel the backyard hen pilot project within 30 days written notice at which time all licence holders will be required to remove hens from the property.

Every holder of a backyard hens licence must:

  • Reside on the property where the hens are housed and kept;
  • Be compliant with the Property Standards By-law;
  • Ensure the coop and outdoor run be placed on the property in such a manner as to limit visual impact;
  • Ensure the coop structure and/or dedicated outdoor run areas is not located within 30 meters of a watercourse, within a flood plain or in an easement area;
  • Ensure the coop structure and/or dedicated outdoor run areas are not located within 15 meters of the property line of a school, public park, or public educational facility;
  • Keep hens in the approved hen coop and/or adjacent enclosed outdoor run at all times;  
  • Keep hens in their coop from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.;
  • Provide hens with clean feed and clean water at all times;
  • Ensure storage of feed and manure be secure and in enclosed containers as to not attract vermin or produce odour;
  • Ensure manure storage on the residential lands not exceed 1 cubic meter at any time;
  • Properly dispose of diceased hens in a prompt and sanitary manner;
  • Ensure the hens not trespass onto adjacent lands including adjacent private property or public roads and parks;
  • Ensure the coop and hens do not create excessive noise including persistent clucking.

Coop and Run Minimum Standards

  • The coop, hen run including manure and feed storage may not be located in any minimum side yard or any front yard;
  • The coop is limited to a maximum height of 2m (measured from the top of the ridge of a sloped roof/highest point of the overall structure);
  • The hen enclosure must not be attached to any single detached dwelling or main building on the property;
  • The coop area must be a minimum of 0.37 m2 (4 square feet) per hen with direct access to the hen run;
  • All hen runs must provide shade and be roofed;
  • The hen run is required to be a minimum of 0.93m2 (10 square feet) per hen;
  • A minimum of 1 nest box per 4 hens is required. Nest boxes are recommended to be approximately 0.3m x 0.3m (or 12 “ x 12”);
  • A dedicated perch space of 8-12 inches (must be 2.5 - 3.5 inches wide and have smooth, rounded edges).

Compliance and Enforcement

 It is prohibted to :

  • Slaughter hens on a residential property 
  • Sell eggs or other products derived from hens
  • Keep roosters

Champlain Township reserves the right to inspect the premises prior to issuing a licence for backyard hens and retains the discretion to refuse a licence that is proposed for a residential property. It also has the authority to rescind the backyard hen licence after providing a written notice.

 Reasons for rescinding a backyard hen licence may include:

  • Animal care is not suitable;
  • The backyard coop or hens create noise or nuisance that is not compatible with the expectations for residential areas;
  • The licensee has been subject to two or more valid complaints from adjacent property owners; and/or
  • The coop is found not to be well secured and/or hens have been found roaming in front yard, adjacent lands or public property.

Apply for a licence

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