Urban chickens allowed on Halifax peninsula

Urban chickens are no longer barred from peninsular Halifax, after the city changed its interpretation of a contentious bylaw.

City changes position after legal analysis

The city of Halifax has decided urban chickens are permitted on the peninsula - after arguing they weren't for five years. 2:14

Urban chickens are no longer barred from peninsular Halifax, after the city changed its interpretation of a contentious bylaw.

In 2008, the city ordered a north-end woman to get rid of her three chickens, saying fowl were not permitted in urban areas.

It has held that position publicly since. But councillor Jennifer Watts said the city’s legal department studied the bylaw in question and decided it did not bar fowl.

HRM spokesman Brendan Elliott said there are 26 different land use bylaws around Halifax Regional Municipality.

"Some of them do address chickens, either allowing them or not allowing them. The bylaw specific for the north-end of Halifax is silent on chickens, so the position is there's nothing to enforce," said Elliott.

HRM couldn't say if chickens are permitted throughout the municipality as rural areas often have different rules than urban areas. It advised any would-be chicken owners to check their local bylaws closely.

Education important

Fred Connors has kept urban chickens in the backyard of his north-end Halifax home for three years. He said the new bylaw interpretation is correct. 

"I really don't feel I've been doing this fight for urban chickens. I've engaged in an activity I felt was legal because I knew the bylaw was too vague," he said.

He urged anyone considering getting chickens to first educate themselves on the hobby.