Paul Hughes holds one of his chickens in his Calgary backyard. ((Meghan Grant/CBC))

The city is dropping charges against a Calgary man for raising hens in his backyard.

Paul Hughes said he received a letter from the city on Thursday advising him it is cancelling a bylaw ticket — which Hughes intended to fight in court — for illegally keeping poultry in Calgary.

A city bylaw forbids raising livestock in most urban areas, though there is an exemption for pigeons.

Hughes, president of the Calgary Liberated Urban Chick Klub (CLUCK), has been fighting for the right to keep his six hens, which he raises for their eggs.

"It's a great day for Calgarians asserting their position and I think it's a great day for urban agriculture and local food systems. I think it's a great day for the city as a whole," he said.


A Calgary bylaw prohibits people from raising livestock, including chickens, within city limits. ((Meghan Grant/CBC))

Hughes said the next step is working on a pilot project with city that will allow about 40 Calgary families already raising chickens for eggs to continue to do so.

Mary March was charged under the same bylaw in September 2009 for keeping three chickens in the backyard of her Tuxedo home, but her ticket has also been withdrawn by the city.

The city is concerned about backyard chickens being a nuisance to neighbours, becoming a potential health concern, or attracting predators.

More than 300 cities in North America, including Vancouver and New York, have amended their bylaws to allow urban chickens.