Monday, March 9, 2009

update on Waterloo urban chicken efforts

Got a note this morning from Doug with promising news about urban chicken efforts in Waterloo, Ontario. The city staff have drafted a pro-chicken bylaw for council approval.

The highlights:
  • No roosters
  • Up to 10 hens per property
  • Property must have a detached dwelling, and the lot must be at least 12m x 20m (Roughly 40' x 65')
  • Chickens suspected of communicable diseases must be taken to the vet immediately.
Specifically, Schedule "D" for the By-Law on animal control has thirteen points to it, listed below. I'm most intrigued by the part of schedule related to communicable diseases (aka "bird flu" and the like), the final point in the list.
  1. No owner shall allow or permit his or her chicken to running at large
  2. No person shall keep a rooster except in an agricultural use within an agricultural zone as established by the Zoning By-law.
  3. The maximum number of chickens permitted on a lot shall be 10.
  4. All chicken coops shall be located only in the rear yard and must fully enclose the chickens and prevent them from escaping.
  5. The chicken coop shall be designed and constructed to ensure proper ventilation and sufficient space for the chickens and maintained in accordance with good animal husbandry and shall keep all vermin out.
  6. All dead chickens must be disposed of immediately and in any event, within 24 hours.
  7. There must be hygienic storage of and prompt removal of chicken feces.
  8. The chickens' food supply must be protected against vermin
  9. All lots housing chickens must have detached dwellings on them; a frontage of at least 12 meters; and a depth of at least 20 meters.
  10. The chicken coop shall be located at least 3 meters from the rear lot line of the lot on which the chicken coop is located.
  11. The chicken coop shall be located at least 3 meters from any side lot line of the lot on which the chicken coop is located.
  12. No person shall keep chickens unless registered with the Clerk or designate and upon paying the required fees and charges, as outlined in the City's Fee Guide.
  13. In the event the owner of chickens suspects they are infected with a communicable disease, the owner shall immediately consult a veterinarian licensed to practice in Ontario to diagnose the condition. If the diagnosis confirms that the chickens are infected with a communicable disease, the owner shall immediately notify the Regional Medical Officer of Health and comply with any direction which may be issued by the Regional Medical Officer of Health in this regard.
You can look at the entire meeting materials via a huge PDF indeed (it's 10Mb) posted at The relevant bits are on pp 172-173.

Thanks, Doug, for the heads up! Here's hoping the council approves it quickly.


Pam said...

Interesting! I'm trying to do the same thing in Arlington, MA. How big is Waterloo?

Unknown said...

Hi Pam,

Waterloo's population is about 97,000. See this post for more details + map:

Keep us informed on your efforts in Arlington and please let us know if there's any way we can help!

Bad Wolf said...


Bad news in Texas regarding backyard chickens.

Meanwhile another town in Oregon is asking for the ability to keep chickens and using their bigger sister city to the north (Portland) as a model (great question in the pic at the site).

Here's a bit of history on their efforts:
Salem Lays an Egg on Keeping Hens

Good piece on chickens and property values

Would you rather hear chickens or hungry peoples' stomachs?

3/9 -- CITY Round 2 at Salem City Council

With a great reason for having chickens (and gardens):
Nine (missed) meals away from anarchy


Turns out Corvallis, Oregon (which is close to Salem) has a Tour de Coops coming up this very Sunday. There's a very interesting, and sturdy looking coop which seems to be made out of hay bales in the picture at the site.

Thanks for being the keeper of the Urban Chicken news and updates!


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