Urban Hens

Six steps to keeping hens:

  1. Review & Understand the Bylaw
  2. Research & Understand best practices to keeping urban hens
  3. Register your interest in keeping urban hens with Animal Control
  4. Build your coop as per Bylaw Specifications
  5. Contact Animal Control to schedule inspection (604.815.6866)
  6. Get your hens!

STEP 1:  Review and understand the bylaw:

Before you start raising urban hens, it is important to read and understand the municipal regulations that govern the keeping of urban hens.

Check your land title to ensure it does not have a restrictive covenant prohibiting the keeping of livestock. (Learn how to check your land title).

STEP 2: Research and understand what the best practices are for keeping hens in an urban environment.

STEP 3: Register your interest in keeping hens with Animal Control:

Local community resources who may be able to answer some of your questions:  

Michalina Hunter 604.355.2991 garibaldicangrow@gmail.com

Step 4: Build your coop according to Bylaw Specifications

A full chicken coop is on display at the Animal Control dog pound located at 39903 Government Road.

Step 5: Contact Animal Control to schedule an inspection

  • 604.815.6866

Step 6: Get your hens!

How to proceed:

Responsible ownership is a key element to ensuring good relations with neighbours, reducing the potential for conflict with wildlife and ensuring the health and safety of your hens. This website resource material is intended to provide information on bylaw requirements, best practices, biosecurity protocols, humane considerations, educational resources and local experienced community volunteers willing to assist.

Keeping Urban Hens in Squamish:

The District of Squamish supports local food production, however care must be taken so as not to attract dangerous wildlife such as bears, coyotes, cougars and wolves. All urban hens must be registered and enclosed by electric fence to prevent wildlife conflicts.

You may keep five (5) hens (female chickens) over the age of four months old on a residential lot within the District of Squamish. NO roosters are allowed. Please check your land title as there are areas within the District that have covenants on land title that specifically restrict land use. These covenants may not allow for the keeping of animals, livestock, agricultural or farm uses and they supercede any District Bylaw allowances. Strata properties may also have restrictions. Please check your strata bylaws and provide a copy with your registration.If you still have questions or are unclear as to your obligations please contact Animal Control at 604.815.6866 or animalcontrol@squamish.ca.

By providing eggs for urban residents and fertilizer for urban gardens, urban hens contribute to local food production. All of this, in turn, reduces the District's overall carbon footprint.

Check out this stop-motion video produced by a group of students at Quest University Canada that illustrates the bylaw requirements. 

Summary of Bylaw Requirements for the Keeping of Urban Hens

Please note: these regulation pertain to residential zones only. 



Allowable zones

All, but must be a resident on the property and be able to comply with all regulatory provisions with respect to the keeping of hens. Please check your land title to ensure you are not prohibited from keeping chickens and livestock.

Permitted # and type of hens

Maximum five (5) hens per parcel (despite the number of permissible dwelling units), at least four months old, NO roosters, universities are not restricted to number of hens for educational purposes.

Siting Restrictions for coops & pens

Restricted to back yards only with a continuous fence, minimum 1.5m setback from property line, 3m from any windows & dwelling doors.

Size restrictions for coops & pens

Maximum 10m2 floor area, and 2m in height.

Housing requirements

Minimum 0.37 m2 (4 ft2) coop space and 0.92 m2 (10 ft2) enclosed run space per hen, coop structure must be roofed, >15 cm perch for each hen and one nest box.

Electric fencing requirements

Hens must be contained at all times, enclosed by electric fence with minimum distance 1m from electric fence to coop/pen. More information about electric fencing is available on the WildSafe BC website.

In the case of electric security fencing to prevent wildlife from accessing urban hens, beehives, fruit or other food sources:

a)      Urban hen coops and pens, as well as beehives, must be surrounded by electric security fencing at a minimum distance of 1m from hen coop, pen or beehive.

b)      For beehives, the non-electrified perimeter fence identified in 4.6 (d) (i) must be 1.8m in height.

c)       A minimum of six strands of 12.5 gauge high tensile galvanized wire is required, with the bottom wire no more than 5 cm from the ground and subsequent wires spaced at an interval of no greater than 25 cm apart, with alternating positive and negative strands, with the top wire at the height of no less than 110cm from the ground;

d)      Electric fence shall be programmed to a minimum conduction of 6000 volts to a maximum of 10,000 volts;

e)      Corner posts and gate areas must be braced to ensure posts will not bend or pull from the ground when the wire is pulled to the appropriate tension. Install guy wires or inside angle braces to alleviate any tightening/loosening problems; and

f)       Ground the system using three (3) 16mm ground rods, 2-3 m deep and spaced at least three (3) m apart, connected to the negative output terminal of the fence charger by ground clamps. Place the rods in moist soil when available which insures a good ground.

Basic care

Hens must be provided food, water, shelter, adequate light and ventilation, and opportunities to scratch, dust-bathe, and roost.

Pest and nuisance control

Enclosures must be kept in good repair and sanitary condition, reasonably constructed so as to prevent entry of vermin and wildlife, food secured, hens in secure coop from sunset to 7 a.m., manure and waste must be removed in timely manner, up to 1 m3 of manure may be kept for composting.


Must follow biosecurity procedures recommended by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Other regulations

No slaughtering allowed, no sales of manure or meat (per Health Canada and BC Ministry of Agriculture), manure may be delivered to organic food recycling facility where available, small quantities may be disposed of in residential garbage totes contained within a sealed bag.  Proper disposal of carcasses at landfill in sealed bag, veterinary clinic, farm composting facility, abattoir, NO carcasses permitted in residential garbage totes, NO burying of hens on a person's property.

Registry Requirement

Register hens with District of Squamish Animal Control, by phone, in person, or through the online registry (link below).  No fee registration.