Backyard Hens

Backyard Hens Participant Guidelines


• “Hens” means a female chicken over four (4) months of age.
• “Rooster” means a male chicken over four (4) months of age.
• “Henhouse” means a structure that houses the hens at night and includes places for laying eggs.
• “Run” means an attached open area that is fenced for hens to range in.
• “Coop” means a Henhouse and Run.

General Guidelines
1. The Village reserves the right to deem an applicant ineligible and will evaluate the suitability of participants using the following criteria:
a) Neighborhood location (the Village may consider a range of housing locations),
b) Lot size (participants must demonstrate that the residential lot area exceeds 464m2),
c) Resident experience with hens (or comparable urban agriculture experience),
d) Attendance at Backyard Hens 101 session (or comparable animal husbandry education) in person or online,
e) Good neighbor considerations (Note: the Village will consider the nature and extent of previous neighbor complaints and bylaw infraction history).

2. Participating residential properties remain subject to the provisions of the Village’s Unsightly Bylaw, which covers such things as untidy and unsightly conditions (Sections 3 & 4) and Noise Control Bylaw (Section 1). As such, coops shall be in good repair, capable of being maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, free of vermin, obnoxious smells and substances, and not create a nuisance or disturbance to neighboring residents due to noise, odor, or damage, or threats to public health.

3. Hens cannot be slaughtered or disposed of on a residential property. Hens at their end of life or that are intended to be butchered must be delivered to a pound keeper, farm, veterinarian, abattoir or other facility with legal ability to dispose of them.

4. Hens are not to be released into the wild.

5. Urban hens are to be kept as pets and and/or for personal egg consumption. They are not intended to be used for commercial purposes.

6. All participants will be required to obtain a Premises Identification (PID) number from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

7. Once all of the permits and approvals are in place, you can then purchase your hens.

8. Village staff have the authority to remove participants from the project with 30 days’ written notice, at which time the participant’s hens and structures may be required to be removed from their property.

9. Village Council has the authority to cancel the pilot with 30 days’ written notice, at which all hens and structures may be required to be removed from properties.
10. One-time application fee of $50.00.

11. Owners must notify the Village of Linden when they no longer have hens on the property.

12. Not transferrable to any other person or property.

13. A person whom a Hen License has been issued shall produce the license at the demand of the CAO or designate or an Enforcement Officer.

Site Selection Criteria
1. To participate in the backyard hens pilot project, a residential property must be a minimum area of 464m2 (4,995 ft2). For purposes of this pilot project, a residential property that is marginally smaller than 464m2 in area may be considered on a case-by-case basis where the property could have less impact on neighboring properties due to being a corner lot or lot that backs onto greenspace or road right-of-way’s.

2. Coops shall be permitted only in fenced back yards.

3. Good neighbor considerations (note: the Village will consider the nature and extent of previous neighbor concerns and bylaw infraction history).

4. Hens are conditionally allowed to be kept on property for single family residential uses.

5. Backyard hens are not permitted on multi-family residential or mobile home park lots.

6. Applicant must reside on the property.

Your Flock
1. Maximum of six (6) hens on residential properties with a minimum area of 464 m2 or greater.

2. A minimum of two (2) hens should be kept as hens are flock animals and need the companionship of other hens.

3. No roosters will be allowed.

Coop Standards
1. Hens must be kept in coop at all times and will not be allowed to run loose in yard.

2. No kennels or cages are allowed.

3. Hens must be kept in a “coop” – a fully enclosed weather proof structure and attached outdoor enclosure used for the keeping of Hens, that is no larger than 10 m2 (107.64 ft2) in a floor area, and no more than 2.5 m (8.20 ft) in height. (Each hen must be provided with at least 0.37 m2 (3.98 ft2) of interior floor area, and at least 0.92 m2 (9.9 ft2) of outdoor enclosure, within the coop.

4. Both the henhouse and the run area are required to be fully enclosed (i.e. fencing, chicken wire, roof covering) to provide hens secure access to exercise, sunlight, earth and vegetation when they are unsupervised during the day. It is to be constructed to prevent the hens’ escape and prevent entry by intruders/predators.

5. Height of coop should not exceed rear fence height of 2 m (6.56 ft) to minimize impact to neighbors.

6. Coop should be set back at least 3m from dwelling windows and doors of neighboring properties.

7. At least one nest box per coop and one perch per hen, that is at least 15 cm (5.9 inches long), must be provided and maintained in the coop.

8. keep a food container and water container in the Coop.

9. The henhouse and coop are to be designed to provide hens with a draft-proof, dry, and insulated environment, especially for wintertime. Additionally, consideration should be given for which breeds of hens are best suited for the Village of Linden’s climate.

10. Locate the coop to minimize noise disturbance to neighbors.

Expected Care of your hens
1. Provide each Hen with Food, water, shelter, light, ventilation, care, and opportunities for essential behaviors such as scratching, dust-bathing, and roosting, all sufficient to maintain the Hen in good health.

2. Chicken waste can smell if accumulated in the run or henhouse. For this reason, the following practices should be followed:
a) Manure and wet bedding should be removed from coop and animal feeding and lounging areas daily.
b) Manure may not be used for backyard composting or fertilizing.
c) Manure can not be disposed of in the normal residential garbage, or at any Kneehill County transtor/landfill site. It must be disposed of at the Drumheller & District Solid Waste Management site (2500 Hwy #10 East, Drumheller, AB) or take out of Village of Linden limits to a farm or acreage (with the owner’s permission).
d) Thorough, complete cleaning of walls and perches, removal of all bedding and disinfecting of coop and furnishings should be done at least once a year.
e) Keep manure within a fully enclosed container, and store no more than 3 cubic feet from manure at the time.

3. To reduce presence of unwanted pests, all feed is to be kept in airtight, rodent-proof containers and any spilled food should be removed promptly.

4. Hens must be kept in their henhouse after 10 pm and before 7 am as this helps with both noise mitigation and keeping the hens safe.

5. Feed must be enclosed in an air-tight container outside of the hen enclosure and must not be located in an area accessible by wildlife and animals.

6. Follow biosecurity procedures recommended by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to reduce potential for disease outbreak.


Backyard Hens 101 Training Available Online

  • As part of your application for backyard hens, you are required to complete a training course in person or online. Below are some courses that are presently being offered online. Please visit the websites directly to register and keep your receipt and/or proof of course completion.

    Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC)
    This course is offered by Alberta Farm Animal Care.
    Register Here
    For more information and upcoming course dates, please visit the AFAC website.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Chickens 101 Course


This course is offered by River City Chickens
Register Here
For more information and upcoming course dates, please email



Helpful Links
• If you are chosen to participate in the pilot, you will need to obtain a PID number through Alberta Agriculture and Forestry for your animals. There is a great FAQ section on PID numbers for more details.
Egg Farmers of Alberta has a Top Ten List of Chores for people raising backyard hens.
• Read about Chickens in your backyard from Egg Farmers of Alberta
• Get help selecting your breed at My Pet Chicken using their breed selector tool
Alberta Farm Animal Care provides training for anyone interested in backyard chickens and offers an online urban hen manual with information about flock health, handling of chickens, cost, breeds, coop design, diseases and more.
How to Prevent and Detect Disease in Backyard Flocks and Pet Birds. Canadian Food Inspection Agency
BIOSECURITY BEST PRACTICES. Keeping Small Flocks Healthy. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association 
Flu Advice for Backyard Swine and Poultry Owners. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development