In January 2013 more than 30 Colwood residents attended a public open house to discuss the possibility of allowing the keeping of chickens on smaller properties than what was currently allowed. Participants were surveyed and the majority supported the proposed amendments. Colwood staff reviewed regulations pertaining to the keeping of chickens in other North American municipalities and consulted Council committees and community associations. 

On July 8, 2013 following the bylaw amendment review process and a public hearing, Colwood Council approved an amendment to the Animals Bylaw to allow up to four (4) chickens on single family residential property with an area of between 5,920 – 43,045 square feet (550 – 3,999 square meters).

Keeping Chickens in Colwood

Responsible ownership is the key to good relations with neighbours and a safe environment for your animals. You will need to review and follow Colwood's backyard hen regulations, contained in Section 2.2.19 of the Land Use Bylaw. Key regulations include the following:

  • Up to 4 hens may be kept on single family residential property between 550 m2 (5,920 ft2) and 4,000 m (1 acre). Most single family homes in Colwood are built on properties larger than 550 m2. If you do not know the size of your property, check out the area measurement tool in the CRD Community Atlas
  • Hens may only be kept for your own use, the selling of eggs or meat is not permitted.
  • No roosters are permitted.
  • Chicken coops must be located at least 3 metres (10 ft) from the rear or side property line.
  • The hens must be kept in a secure fenced enclosure and not be allowed to run at large.
  • Chicken coops can be built up to 2.4 m (7.8 ft) in height.
  • The coop and enclosure needs to be well maintained and cleaned, manure shall be cleaned up and stored, chicken feed stored in a vermin proof container.

Caring for Chickens

The District of Saanich has compiled a helpful resource for Basic Hen Care to be used as a starting point for understanding the best management practices for the keeping of chickens in an urban area.