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Backyard Chickens

Basic Requirements

City of Victoria:  It is lawful to keep poultry (chickens, ducks, geese). Roosters are prohibited. There is no maximum number of poultry permitted, but the number must be consistent with use for personal egg consumption.

Esquimalt:  Up to 7 Urban Hens can be kept on any parcel of land zoned for Single or Two Family Residential Use . Roosters are prohibited. There are specific rules regarding coop/run enclosures in Esquimalt. Please read the Bylaw (Section 32) before constructing or locating a chicken coop/run.

Oak Bay:  You can keep up to 5 or 10 hens depending on your lot size. Roosters are prohibited. There are specific rules about hen enclosures in Oak Bay. You must also register your chickens with Oak Bay Municipal Hall. Please read the Bylaw (Section 26) before constructing your chicken coop.

  • No municipality permits the sale or advertising of eggs / manure / meat products.

Keeping Poultry in an Urban Environment

The "Vancouper" chicken coop hand made in Vancouver by www.dailyeggs.com (and can be delivered to Victoria!):

Another excellent example of a backyard chicken coop and run by www.chickencoopsdirect.com:

Poultry can be kept as pets or for personal egg consumption, but it is unlawful to sell or advertise eggs for sale.   Poultry cannot be raised for meat purposes and cannot be slaughtered on a residential property.

There are no maximum numbers of poultry allowed in Victoria, but it has to be consistent with personal use. Excess numbers of poultry will undoubtedly cause complaints and investigation into land use & business licence violations.

Poultry must be contained to your own private property. $150 fines can be issued if your birds get out and trespass on a neighbouring property. Animal Control Officers can also impound trespassing birds or birds that run stray in public places.

If you are serious about keeping chickens do yourself a big favour and build yourself a decent chicken coop. If you can't conveniently enter the coop you will be less likely to clean it. Dirty chicken coops generate complaints: odor, flies, rats, and disease. Don’t build a chicken coop out of three sheets of plywood and a hockey net unless you want to meet an Animal Control Officer. Chickens are smart and it won’t take them long to find a way out. They’ll be exploring, scratching and eating things in your neighbour’s garden in no time and we won’t talk about the messy stuff they’ll leave behind.  Don't locate a chicken coop in a front yard or immediately beside a neighbor’s house or build it onto a shared fence.

We recommend that you also build a chicken run (a fully fenced area including wire across the top) and attach it directly to the chicken coop.  A coop and run like the ones pictured above could be located on a vegetable garden in fall and winter months.  Every few weeks move it a few feet and the chickens will eradicate the weeds and naturally fertilize the soil in the process.

Like roosters, chickens can be quite noisy at daybreak and they should be contained to the coop until 7 a.m.

Lastly, beware of predators. In Victoria there are lots of raccoons and mink that would love to dine on your chickens or their eggs. Build coops and runs for two purposes: to contain chickens and keep predators out. Unfortunately there have also been a couple of incidents where a stray dog has broken into a chicken coop and killed chickens.

Before going ahead call us and we will determine whether it is lawful for you to keep chickens on your property and can provide you with Oak Bay specific information.

More information:

The District of Saanich has compiled some basic information about keeping chickens in an urban area. See their pdf called Hen Basics.

Visit the Canadian Food Inspection's Bird Health Basics page for information on preventing and detecting disease in backyards flocks.

Occasionally we find chickens that are never claimed by their owners. If you would like to be contacted when we have a chicken available for adoption, please let us know by sending us an email at vacs@shaw.ca. The adoption fee is usually $5.