Chicken FAQs


  1. May I keep chickens on my property?

    Hens are allowed to be kept on property zoned single family residential (see Zoning Bylaw 8200) with an area greater than 557m2 (6,000 ft2) if the flock is registered with the Municipality and all regulations under Saanich's Animals Bylaw are followed. 

  2. How many chickens may I keep on my single family residential property?

    As stated in the Animals Bylaw: 5 chickens may be kept on single family residential property with an area greater than 557m2 (6,000 ft2); and 10 chickens may be kept on property with an area greater than 1,114 m2 (12,000 ft2).

  3. Are roosters allowed in the residential areas of Saanich?

    No, roosters are not allowed within Saanich residential zones.

  4. Are other types of poultry allowed to be kept on residential properties?

    Other types of poultry as defined in the Animals Bylaw are allowed only on property with an area larger than 1,114 m2 (12,000 ft2).

  5. Are people allowed to slaughter chickens on their property?

    No, slaughtering of chickens in your backyard is not permitted. Hens at the end of their life will need to be taken to a veterinarian, farm, or abattoir.

  6. Are people allowed to sell the eggs from their property?

    No, backyard hens are to be kept for egg production for personal use only.

  7. How will public health be protected in connection with health risks from chickens?

    The following Federal and Provincial Legislation provide standards and guidelines related to health and safety. These acts give Senior, Regional, or Local Government authorities the tools to gather information, inspect, and require mitigation.

    Federal Government - Health of Animals Act - 1990, c. 21 - This Act outlines steps that may be taken by inspectors in the case where diseases (e.g. avian flu) or toxic substances are suspected of being on a site that may affect animals or that may be transmitted by animals to persons. Prohibitions in this act include: concealment, keeping diseased animals and selling or disposing of diseased animals.

    Canadian Food Inspection Agency - The agency develops and delivers programs and services designed to protect Canadians from preventable food safety hazards, to ensure that food safety emergencies are effectively managed and that the public is aware of--and contributes to--food safety through administration of the Federal Act such as Canadian Agricultural Products Act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act & Feeds Act.

    The BC Government provides useful Fact Sheets on different subjects regarding Best Management Practices.

    BC Provincial Public Health Act - Provides health officers the authority to order preventative measures to control a health hazard (e.g. Avian Flu outbreak)

    BC Provincial Animal Disease Control Act - Veterinarians and Physicians are obligated to report known or suspected animals or persons that are suffering from or have died from a communicable disease.

    BC Integrated Pest Management Act - This Act mainly regulates pesticide use, but also gives authority to the Minister to order an Integrated Pest Management Plan for managing pest populations (including rats and insects) and reduce damage caused by pests. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Sustainability provides some advice for pest management.

    BC Environmental Management Act - The Ministry of Environment regulates issues regarding organic matter (manure) and recycling for larger retail grade practices through this act. BC Waste Management Act - The Ministry of Environment is responsible for maintaining air quality and investigating complaints. 

  8. How will hens be protected from inhumane acts?

    Humane care of animals is the responsibility of the owners. Owners should educate themselves on the proper and humane care for all animals. The BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act ensures the humane treatment of animals by providing a legislative mandate for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in British Columbia. It outlines the powers of their offices, rights of seizure and disposal or sale of animals taken into custody. Reporting of inhumane acts against animals is the responsibility of each of us in our society.


  9. Where on our property may we keep chickens?

    Hens are allowed within the rear yard of your property as defined in the Animals Bylaw and 3m from the side and rear lot lines. Hens must be kept in an enclosure with a combination of a secured indoor area and an outdoor covered and fenced pen as outlined in the Animals Bylaw.

  10. Who should a Saanich resident contact in the case they have a complaint about a neighbour keeping chickens?

    Please first check Saanich's Animals Bylaw to understand if the owner of the hens is actually operating against the bylaw. If the hen owner is working contrary to the bylaw it is always best to contact the owner to make them aware of the infraction as they may wish to be a good neighbour and change the situation to abide by the bylaw. If there is still a problem you may contact Saanich Animal Control to report an infraction to the Animal Bylaw - 250-475-4321.

  11. What if I decide I no longer wish to keep chickens?

    There are a few ideas that may help if you find that you no longer wish to keep chickens on your property, these may include:

    • Contact the business or farmer where you purchased the hens.
    • Try on-line web sites that are used to sell or swap property.
    • Your local veterinarian may have a contact who takes hens.
    • Attend a “Poultry Swap” that are sometimes held in the region e.g. Metchosin, Qualicum, Duncan).
    • Advertise for sale or “to a good home” in the local newspaper.
    • Contact a government certified abattoir to inquire if they receive chickens for processing.