Backyard Chickens & Roosters
Backyard chicken keeping has increased in popularity and while as a Right-to-Farm town we encourage that, it has given rise to some conflict especially in densely developed neighborhoods.
However, it can be done successfully if some simple guidelines are followed:
- Talk to your neighbors. Unexpected changes are generally not welcomed, so stop by your neighbors and explain what you plan to do. The promise of the occasional fresh-laid egg always helps.
- No more than one chicken per 4,000sq.ft. of area in which they are kept. (Zoning By-law 2.11.50)
- You can have roosters. This is by far the main source of complaints. When chicks come from the supplier they are generally not sexed, so you can and likely will end up with one or more roosters. Often people are unsure as to what to do with them, but in the meantime they will awaken the entire neighborhood at the crack of dawn. You, the owner, may not object to this but your neighbors likely have different schedules, work 2nd shift, etc.
- The hens are also much happier without the presence of a testosterone fueled rooster.
- Their coop is considered to be a shed, and should meet the shed rules (max of 120 square feet, at least 10 feet away from all lot lines, permit required.)
- Keep food in sealed containers. Rats are often unwelcome visitors to chicken coops but good hygiene can keep this to a minimum.
- Have a plan for the waste and old bedding. Well-tended compost heaps can help solve this and be a boon to the garden.
- Have a plan for the winter. Chickens don’t like cold and wet weather any more than we do, so make sure they have somewhere warm and safe.
- “Good fences make good neighbors.” Make sure they don’t stray beyond your own property.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact either the Board of Health or the Building Department.
Good luck with your Backyard Chickens!