Chicken holdout: Sidney considers welcoming backyard chickens

Chicken holdout: Sidney considers welcoming backyard chickens

The Town of Sidney is the only municipality in the Capital Regional District that doesn’t allow residents to keep backyard chickens, but that may soon be changing.

At a council meeting Monday, council gave its first, second and third reading of a bylaw that would allow residents to keep backyard hens, in specific conditions.

The new amendment to the town’s animal licence and control bylaw would allow people to keep up to five hens in their backyard, so long as they live in a single-family dwelling that has a minimum lot size of 550 square metres.

There’s also rules related to where the chickens can stay – such as being in a backyard with a minimum distance of 4.5 metres from any door or window of a residential building, and three metres from the side of any lot lines.

Anyone interested in owning hens in Sidney would also need to pay a one-time $100 application fee, which would be used to pay for the staff time it takes to review an application, and for overall bylaw enforcement in the town.

“The proposed permitted properties, minimum lot sizes, and siting requirements were chosen to ensure there would be sufficient space for an appropriately sized hen enclosure in a rear yard, while also ensuring they will be sited away from neighbouring homes to reduce proximity and the possibility of noise and odors,” reads the draft bylaw that was submitted to council on Monday.

The town has long considered introducing backyard hens to the area.

In November, the issue became a particularly hot topic in the community.

“As identified in the staff report that went to Committee-of-the-Whole on November 20, 2023, there have been occasional surges of public interest in backyard hens over the past few years, both in support and in opposition,” reads the draft bylaw.

With the hen bylaw now past its first, second and third readings, council says it will be “considered for adoption” during a future council meeting, though no specific date was given this week.


Adam ChanAdam Chan

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