Backyard Hens Licences
On January 7, 2019, Council passed the Hen Bylaw that allows for hen keeping in St. Albert and outlines the regulations required to be a hen keeper in St. Albert. This webpage will provide information and details about keeping backyard hens in the City.
Step 1: Review the Hen Bylaw
Applicants are required to review the Hen Bylaw 32/2018 and ensure that they understand what is required to be a safe and successful hen keeper in the City.
Step 2: Prepare your Application
An application for a Hen Licence must include the items listed below. Please plan accordingly as some items require registration with external organizations and time to complete.
Certificate of Title
This document can be obtained by contacting the Alberta Land Titles Office at 780-427-2742, a local registry office, or visiting Spin2. There is a cost associated with obtaining a Land Title, and the cost may vary at different locations. A Certificate of Title helps the City verify the registered owner of the subject property. Please ensure that the Certificate of Title is printed no more than two (2) weeks of the date a Hen Licence application is submitted.
Permission from the Property Owner
If the applicant is not the registered owner of the property on which the hens will be kept, the applicant must obtain permission from the registered owner.
The proposed location and size of the hen coop must demonstrate compliance with St. Albert’s Land Use Bylaw for an accessory building. The standard requirements for an accessory building:
- A minimum of 1.0 metre from the side and rear yard property line
- A minimum of 3.0 metres from all doors and windows of the main residential building
- A minimum of 1.5 metres from the main residential building
- A minimum of 1.5 metres from another accessory structure, such as a shed, detached garage, etc.
- A maximum floor area of 108 square feet (10 sq. m) which includes both the hen coop and coop run
- A maximum height of 12 feet (3.7 m)
Development Permit Application
If the proposed hen coop exceeds the standard requirements of an accessory building, a Development Permit is required. More information on the application process for a Development Permit can be found on the Building and Development page.
Evidence of Hen Keeping Experience or Training
All new hen keepers must complete a hen keeping course that is specific to an Alberta context. Please see the "Courses" section below for details. If you have experience in hen keeping, please provide supporting documents. If you are unable to provide supporting documents, there will be a competency test to be completed at the time of submitting your application. The competency test must be completed at the Planning & Development Department office.
Neighbour Notification Letters
Signed letters from all adjoining neighbours indicating that they have been notified of a Hen Licence application is required. An adjoining neighbour is defined as the neighbour of each property abutting the subject property, including those who live across a lane, but not across a street. If the neighbouring property is an apartment building, church, or school, notify the building manager. If the neighbouring property is City-owned, such as parks, notification is not required.
The annual fee for a Hen Licence is $45.00. Payment options include:
- In person with cash, cheque, or credit card, at the Planning & Engineering Department on the 2nd Floor, 5 St. Anne Street. Please note that making an appointment is required first, due to COVID-19 protocols.
- Mailing a cheque made payable to the City of St. Albert.
- Online with your file number and credit card information. The link to the online payment webpage will be provided after an application is submitted. Please state on your application form that you would like to pay online.
Step 3: Submit your Application
Hen Licence applications must be submitted to the City of St. Albert, Planning and Development Department front desk on the 2nd floor of St. Albert Place (5 St. Anne Street), or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Processing of applications for a Hen Licence requires about five (5) business days.
If a proposed hen coop exceeds the Land Use Bylaw regulations for an accessory building, a Development Permit application is also required in conjunction with the Hen Licence application. Decisions for both applications will be provided at the same time and will require about 14 business days.
If you are submitting an application to renew your Hen Licence, only the Hen Licence Application Form and Licence Fee is required.
Step 4: Hen Licence Decision
Please note that once a Hen Licence has been issued, it does not take effect until the expiration of a 14-day appeal period. Or, if an appeal was made, until a written decision for approval has been made, which may require up to two (2) months. After, the Hen Licence is valid for one year, and must be renewed each year should the hen keeper wish to continue hen keeping.
Step 5: Apply for a Premise Identification (PID) Number
Should a Hen Licence be approved, the applicant must apply for a Premises Identification (PID) account, and provide their PID number to the Planning & Development Department within 21 days of the decision.
As part of the Province of Alberta’s Animal Health Act, PID is a part of a traceability system designed to address potential threats of disease outbreaks that may affect animal health, public health, and food safety. You may contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 780-310-3276 for more info, or how to apply.
Step 6: Build your Hen Coop
The cost of building a hen coop depends on how you source materials. A coop may also be purchased already built. When building a coop, ensure that it works for all seasons, and provides adequate ventilation and insulation throughout the year. The hen coop must be built in accordance with the submitted site plan or development permit, Hen Bylaw, and Land Use Bylaw.
Electrical Permit Application
Under the Alberta Safety Codes Act and Permit Regulations, and to ensure proper set up of your hen coop and safety of hens, an Electrical Permit is required to install, alter, or add to an electrical system. This applies to all residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional installations, which include the installation of a heat lamp, light fixture, or any other type of electrical components in a hen coop.
If you plan to install electrical fixtures in your hen coop, please visit the Building Inspections City webpage for more information on the application process for an Electrical Permit.
Step 7: Get Hens
Acquiring hens must be the final step after a Hen Licence has been approved, and a hen coop has been built.
Step 8: Renew Your Hen Licence
About 1 month prior to the expiry date of your Hen Licence, you will be sent a notice to renew. If you would like to renew your Hen Licence for another year, please follow the payment steps within the letter of notice. If you choose not to renew, please notify our office at email@example.com immediately. No notification of payment will mean that your Hen Licence will expire.
Courses offered in the Edmonton region teach about coop design and requirements, feeding and care, winter needs and concerns, breed selection, buying hens, how to handle hens, flock introductions, and many other tips and resources. A certificate of participation is provided after the course, which the City of St. Albert accepts as proof of training when applying for a Hen Licence.
River City Chickens
'Chickens 101' is an informative course for anyone interested in keeping backyard hens. This course has been held in a variety of locations, including the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, John Janzen Nature Centre, Salisbury Greenhouse, St. Albert Place, and Edmonton Valley Zoo. A certificate will be provided upon completion in order to approved a Hen Licence from the City of St. Albert. For more information and upcoming course dates, please visit their website.
River City Chickens also hosts a supplementary course, 'Chickens 201', that builds on topics covered in their 'Chickens 101' course. Please note that this 'Chickens 201' course is not approved to obtain a Hen Licence with the City of St. Albert. Only the 'Chickens 101' course is approved for a Hen Licence.
The next Chickens 101 online course is held on July 25, 2021. If you are interested, please register here:
Morinville Public School Learning Farm
Learning Farm Coordinator and local teacher, Monique Webb, is offering online courses via Google Meet this spring and summer. Participants will receive a certificate required to obtain a Hen Licence from the City of St. Albert. The course is $50 and all proceeds will go towards their local Learning Farm.
Last edited: July 5, 2021