It may soon be easier for residents of Cold Lake to keep chickens in their backyards. 

City of Cold Lake council made a decision to pass the initial reading to amend the Hen-Keeping Bylaw on Nov. 14. 

Andrew Jabs, the manager of Land Use Planning, Development and Regulatory Services for the City of Cold Lake, shed some light on the amendment’s purpose.  

“The intention of the amendment is to streamline the appeal process for the decisions made by the licensing authority to approve or refuse an application for a hen-keeping license.” 

He further explains, “Currently, the urban hen keeping bylaw requires an appeal committee appointed by the CAO be appointed in an event of the appeal of a hen keeping license.” 

With this progressive step, this initiative will empower residents to maintain a limited number of hens on private property, promoting sustainability, self-sufficiency, and responsible animal care within the community. 

Jabbs emphasized the role of the animal control tribunal in the decision-making process. “To streamline this process, the administration proposes to have any appeals in relation to this bylaw be heard by the animal control tribunal; essentially, this would allow the animal control tribunal to hear matters related to animal care or licensing, as established in the animal control bylaw, as well as appeals in relation to hen-keeping and beekeeping.” 

However, aspiring hen keepers will need to navigate a set of specific criteria outlined by the City of Cold Lake to ensure a seamless integration of hens into the cityscape. 

Eligibility criteria says applicants must exhibit a level of maturity and responsibility by being at least 18 years old to care for the hens effectively. 

A mandatory completion of an accredited hen-keeping training program is also required and shows the commitment to understanding the welfare and proper care of urban hens. 

Prospective keepers must engage in open communication, informing adjoining neighbours about their intent to apply for a permit. This promotes community cooperation and awareness, according to the municipality. 

A maximum of four hens per property is allowed. Roosters are strictly prohibited on non-agricultural land, ensuring neighborhood peace. 

Maintaining secure coops with warmth, ventilation, food, water, veterinary care, and opportunities for socialization among hens is crucial, according to the criteria set forward. 

The initiative prohibits the sale of eggs or meat harvested from the hens, emphasizing its non-commercial nature. 

Applicants must undergo an application process and pay associated fees to obtain and maintain the Urban Hen-Keeping permit through the City of Cold Lake. 

To enrol in upcoming training programs, individuals can access registration via two primary avenues – by visiting or through the dedicated platform at These portals serve as the gateways to training sessions, offering knowledge and guidance for prospective hen keepers in Cold Lake. 

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 29, 2023 at 12:59

This item reprinted with permission from   Lakeland This Week   Bonnyville, Alberta

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