Backyard Hens

Chicken coop


On June 6, 2023, Council received the staff report regarding keeping backyard hens on property less than one (1) acre) and directed staff to conduct public consultation to gather feedback with respect to the regulating of backyard hens in the Town of East Gwillimbury. On December 19, 2023, Council received the staff report and endorsed a 24-month pilot project, permitting up to four (4) backyard hens to be kept on property less than one (1) acre, effective March 1, 2024.

Regulations regarding the keeping of backyard hens

  • No Person shall Keep more than four (4) Hens on a lot in any zone, except in a rural zone;
  • The applicant or licensee must reside on the property where the Hens are kept;              
  • Hen coops shall only be permitted in the rear yard;
  • Hen coops and Hen runs shall be maintained in a Sanitary Condition and the coop shall be kept free of obnoxious odours, substances, and vermin;
  • Every Hen owner shall ensure that the enclosure is located no less than three (3) metres from any dwelling, shop, or apartment building, and no less than two (2) metres from any adjoining property line;
  • Hens must be kept in a locked Hen enclosure from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m;
  • Hens must be at least 4 months old when acquired;
  • The sale of eggs, manure and other products associated with the keeping of Hens are prohibited;
  • Any leftover feed and manure shall be removed;
  • Stored manure shall be kept in an enclosed structure or container such as a compost bin, stored no less than one (1) metre from any adjoining property line and no more than three (3) cubic feet shall be stored at any one time.  All other manure not used for composting or fertilizing shall be removed;
  • Maximum of one (1) Hen coop, and one (1) outdoor run shall be permitted;
  • A hen enclosure shall be a maximum ground floor of 9.0 m;
  • Hen coops shall be at least 0.37 m² of floor area per hen, along with a minimum of 0.93 m² per Hen for the Hen run;
  • Hen coops and Hen runs shall not exceed 3 m in height;
  • No Person shall Keep a rooster in any residential zone;
  • Home slaughter of Hens is prohibited in a residential zone;
  • Deceased Hens shall be disposed of at a livestock disposal facility or through the services of a veterinarian;
  • Hens shall be confined to an enclosed Hen coop or Hen run at all times.  The free roaming of Hens on the property is prohibited;
  • Hen coops shall have adequate ventilation and shall be weather and predator proof;
  • Hens shall be provided with appropriate food, water, space and environmental conditions conducive to good health and the opportunity to socialize and engage in fundamental behaviours such as scatching, roosting and dust bathing;
  • Feeders and water containers shall be provided and cleaned regularly and disinfected; and
  • Feed shall be stored in rodent proof containers and secured at all times to prevent rodents and other animals from accessing it.


Prior to purchasing backyard hens, please ensure a licence has been obtained in accordance with the by-law amendment 2024-004.

Applications can be submitted to or dropped of at the Civic Centre located at 19000 Leslie Street, Sharon.

 Application Form


There is a one-time non-refundable $100 application fee to cover the cost of processing the application and the initial inspection.


All applicants are to provide a declaration on the application form that they have reviewed the following education materials:

 1.  "Bird Health Basics Video"  and "Bird Health Basics Fact Sheet" by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

2.  "Biosecurity Recommendations for Small Flock Poultry Owners" by OMAFRA.

3.  "Small Flock Poultry: Raising Healthy Birds" by OMAFRA.

4.  "Rodent Control in Livestock and Poultry Facilities" by OMAFRA.

5.  "Keeping your family healthy with backyard poultry, including chickens and ducklings" by the Ministry of Health.