By Michelle Poirier

Residents of Georgina can now apply for a licence to keep backyard hens for a one-time fee of $100.

The urban hens licensing bylaw was approved by Georgina Town Council on March 30 and allows residents to keep hens within residential or rural zones if they meet bylaw requirements.

“Enthusiasm for urban hens has been growing throughout municipalities in the past few years, particularly as a means of easy and affordable fresh egg production,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk in a press release.

“The Town recognizes this emerging trend and is putting regulations to allow residents to have backyard chickens.”

Georgina Council hatched the new licensing bylaw after the Town completed a successful two-year pilot project.

In May 2020, applicants to the urban hens pilot project attended a virtual education workshop, and, in June 2020, 12 residents were selected for the project. By January 2022, seven of the licences issued were in operation.

According to the staff report, only one complaint was received during the pilot project, which was declared unfounded as the coop complied with the bylaw requirements.

Town staff found no significant concerns such as odour and noise complaints, abandonment or disease with allowing hens in urban areas.

Keswick resident Charity Klapwyk was one of those selected for the pilot project.

“The training we got was awesome, and we really enjoy having chickens,” Klapwyk said.

Klapwyk and her kids Noah, Ana-Sofia, and Luke named their chickens Star Layer, Matt Layer, Darth Layer and Princess Layer.

“I hope that they make it easy for other people to have urban hens in Keswick because it’s definitely a great thing for my kids, who are becoming very responsible.”

“It’s been a great activity after COVID, and we haven’t had to buy eggs which has been awesome.”

Noah holds hen
Ana-Sofia helps with feeding

There are a few rules to consider for those who want to apply for an urban hen licence.

  • Only four hens are allowed per lot, and roosters are prohibited.
  • Hens are only permitted in the rear yard and must be confined to an enclosed hencoop or hen run at all times.
  • The sale of eggs, manure and other products associated with the keeping of hens is also prohibited.

The Town will provide educational material for those applying for a licence.

For more information, you can visit www.georgina.ca/UrbanHens.

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