Bylaw #394 - Urban Hen-Keeping

Urban Hen keeping within the Village of Spring Lake is regulated under the Urban Hen Keeping Bylaw #394. Please complete the following form and apply, with supporting documents to the Village of Spring Lake located at 990 Bauer Ave or via email at

Bylaw to regulate the keeping of Urban Hen Keeping in the Village of Spring Lake.

Hen License Application

Apply for your Hen License and pay the non-refundable license fee.

A Hen License is required for keeping a hen(s) in the Village of Spring Lake for one (1) year following the date of approval. Please complete the following application form and provide the required supporting documents from the list below.


Supporting documents required:

  • Property Owner Consent

  • Name, address, email address, and phone number

  • Yard Information, Chicken Coop Drawing Plans & Location

  • Training requirement, Copy of certificate, Session location, Session date, and Certification number

  • Premises Identification Program (PID) number

  • Terms and Conditions

Notify Neighbours

Prior to submitting an application, every hen-keeping applicant must notify their adjoining neighbours with an Urban Hen neighbour acknowledgement letter. Adjoining Neighbour means an owner or occupant of a property that is contiguous to a parcel along a common property line and where the parcel is a corner lot, includes an owner or occupant of a property that is adjacent to the parcel across a rear lane, but not across a street.

This requirement is a notification to neighbours, not a request for permission.  

  • Please print off the required number of copies of neighbour notification letters.
  • Please note the date and addresses on copies of the letters that were given out in your application. We do not require that the letters be signed.

TIP: Leave a letter on your Neighbour’s door and take a photo for record keeping.

Obtain a PID

Obtain a Provincial Premise ID (PID)
The Province of Alberta requires all owners of poultry (including small urban flocks) to register their flocks into the provincial database and obtain a PID. 

Hen-Keeping General Regulations

  • Hen keeping is permitted under and in accordance with bylaw 394.

  • This bylaw 394 applies to the activity of Hen keeping for personal use only. The commercial sale of Hens or Hen products is not permitted.

  • This bylaw 394 enables the keeping of Hens within the confines of fenced property and does not permit Hens to be sheltered within a residential dwelling unit.

  • Roosters are not permitted.

  • No person shall keep a Hen or Hens, on a parcel in a single-family residential zone, having an area less than 557.42sq.m. (6,000 sq. ft).

  • This bylaw 394 does not exempt a person from complying with any Federal or Provincial law or regulation, other Village bylaw, or any requirement of any lawful permit, order, or license.

Coop and Coop Run Requirements for Hen-Keeping

  • A Coop and Coop Run are only permitted within a fenced rear yard of a residential property.

  • A Coop and Coop Run must be located at grade level, but not over a utility right-of-way.

  • A minimum Coop indoor floor area of 0.37 sq. m. (4 sq. ft).

  • The indoor floor area of a Coop shall not exceed 9.29 sq. m (100 sq. ft).

  • The Coop shall not exceed 2.5 m (8.0 ft) in height.

  • The minimum Coop Run outdoor area of 0.93 sq. m. (10 sq. ft) per Hen is required but shall not exceed 9.29 sq. m (100 sq. ft).

  • A Coop must contain a minimum of one (1) Nest Box for every (2) hens.

  • Coops and Coop Runs are to be located: (a) a minimum of 4.57m (15 ft) from all property lines.

  • The maximum lot coverage of all structures on a property, including a Coop, must comply with the Land Use Bylaw.

  • A maximum of (1) Coop and (1) Coop Run is permitted on one (1) parcel of residential land.

  • The Licensing Authority has the authority to impose additional site-specific conditions.

Provincial Registration and Disease Prevention

  • The license holder must comply with all Provincial regulations around the keeping of hens as outlined by the Animal Health Act.

  • The Province of Alberta requires all owners of poultry (including small urban flocks) to register their flocks into the provincial database and obtain a Premise Identification (PID) Number. The PID enables the province to keep track of livestock site locations in case of a potential disease outbreak.

  • The Province will maintain communication with site owners should any information or incidents occur that would require site owners to take action. Additionally, if any disease outbreaks occur, applicants must immediately notify the Village of Spring Lake and provide the details of the outbreak and the steps taken to rectify the issue.

  • Alberta Animal Health Act

Complete a Hen-Keeping Course

Hen-Keeping Courses Available: Regional Accredited Courses
Alberta Farm Animal Care works to ensure farm animals in Alberta are respected, well-cared for, and experience a high state of welfare. Visit AFAC's website for hen-keeping courses and educational information.

Morinville Public School Learning Farm offers a course called Urban Chicken Raising.

FAQ: Urban Hen-Keeping

Will wildlife be attracted to the hens in the area and cause a problem in my neighborhood?

Raising backyard chickens increases the likelihood of wildlife becoming a problem. The issue tends to be with the environment that the chickens are kept. 

"Privacy fence" means a solid fence with a continuous height permitted by Land Use Bylaw.

Will the smell of chickens and manure cause a problem in my neighbourhood? What steps do I take if it becomes a nuisance?

Chickens are very clean animals. They will occasionally give themselves "dirt baths" but this is for them to preen their feathers and keep themselves clean and cool. Their droppings usually do not smell. The droppings are easily hosed off and break down into an excellent fertilizer for the lawn. Just like all pets and animals, chickens need responsible owners to keep the area tidy and clean out their living space.

The waste is also required to be contained in a sealed, animal proof container which will mitigate any smell.

A part of the process is notifying my neighbour. What if my neighbour doesn’t want me to have backyard hens? 

If your neighbour doesn’t want backyard hens, it doesn’t mean you will not be accepted into the program.   

How do I dispose of my chickens if they get sick or die?

Disposal will be through regular waste. 

What if I no longer want my chickens, what do I do with them?

If you no longer want your chickens, there are agencies or farms that you can reach out to re-home your chickens.

Where do I dispose of the chicken manure?

You can dispose of chicken manure in a similar way as disposing of cat litter. Double bagging and bringing the waste to the landfill is accepted.

Are chickens noisy?

Hens are one of the quietest domestic animals. Hens have about the same decibel level as a human conversation and are much quieter than a dog barking. They cluck softly from time to time and will often cluck to let you know they recently laid an egg, which occurs inside a hen house. Unless they are in danger, they do not squawk. They sleep at night just as people do and are completely quiet from dusk to dawn. 

Is there a protocol for quarantining sick hens?

All hen owners are required to obtain a Premise Identification Number (PID) through Alberta Agriculture. This number tracks all properties that have birds and will alert owners in the event of an outbreak. They will advise on the steps to take in the event of an outbreak.

Can humans or domesticated pets (dogs and cats) get diseases from chickens?

Yes. Salmonella and Campylobacter are the two most common communicable bacterial diseases. Proper biosecurity measures will help prevent the spread of diseases. This topic will be discussed in the mandatory backyard chicken courses.

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