Orillia Backyard Hen Pilot Program An ‘Egg’-Straordinary Success


Program made permanent during April 3 Council meeting

After running a pilot program with 12 participating properties, Council has declared the Backyard Hen Pilot Program a success and has authorized a permanent program moving forward in Orillia.

“Council is pleased with the outcome of the Backyard Hen Pilot Program. Allowing residents with appropriate properties to keep backyard hens for the purposes of egg production is one way the City can support food sustainability and local food production efforts in our community,” said Mayor Don McIsaac.

During the pilot program there was a restriction to a maximum of 12 properties that could participate in the program. All 12 spots were filled and there were 10 properties on a waiting list. With the new program, the maximum property cap has been removed and the City is now accepting applications for residents interested in keeping backyard hens.

The limit on the number of hens on one property remains at four. Hens must be kept in a hen coop with an outdoor, enclosed run, which requires approval from the City prior to construction. To participate in the Backyard Hen Program, interested property owners will first need to obtain a licence from the City by submitting an application.

The regulations for the permanent program remain the same as those that existed during the pilot program. A hen coop may be located on a property that is zoned Rural (RU), Residential (R1, R2, R3, R4), or Open Space One and Two (OS1, OS2). The property must be at least 500 sq. m. (approx. 5,382 sq. ft.) in area to support a hen coop. No hen coop is permitted unless a valid licence has been issued by the City under the Hen Coop Licensing By-law. There is a one-time licensing fee of $100.

The original pilot program, which began in June 2017, was initiated in response to requests by residents and in the interest of encouraging local food production. The pilot program was extended for an additional two years in 2019 to garner more feedback from the community and participants.

For more information about the Backyard Hens Program, including the program application form, visit the City’s website at orillia.ca/backyardhens or contact the Legislative Services Division at 705-325-2313.


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