Kitchener passes bylaw amendment allowing backyard chickens

The city of Kitchener voted to amend a 28-year-old bylaw banning backyard chickens. Effective immediately, residents can now keep up to four chickens in coops.
A good coop will keep out predators like raccoons. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Kitchener city council has passed a bylaw amendment that will let city residents keep up to four chickens in backyard coops.

Council passed the amendment on Monday night, changing a 28 year ban on chickens.

City residents can now keep chickens, but not roosters, in backyard coops that are set back 2.5 metres from the side lot lines. Earlier this year the city had been considering a setback of 3 metres.

If a property doesn't meet the 2.5 metre requirement, a resident is required to seek approval from immediately adjacent neighbours to build the coop closer to the side lot line.

The city decided to review the 28-year-old bylaw last August, after Kitchener resident Heidi Wall was forced to give up her four backyard chickens when public complaint and media attention drew attention to her coop in July. 

Residents who want to keep chickens will need to pay a $50 one-time registration fee and undergo an inspection.

According to the city, over 1,800 people responded to an online survey about the issue, and almost 90 per cent of respondents were in favour of backyard chickens.