Urban hen licensing program hatching soon

The City of Calgary is pleased to announce the launch of a much-anticipated new program recognizing urban hens as licenced pets under the updated Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) Bylaw. Beginning Monday, March 21, 2022, Calgarians will be able to apply for an urban livestock licence to keep backyard hens in the city.

The program is aligned with national care guidelines and structured similar to other municipalities across Canada that have successfully implemented urban hen programs.

“We heard from Calgarians that modern pet ownership means more than just caring for cats and dogs,” said Jennifer Lawlor, Strategic Services Leader, Calgary Community Standards.

“The urban hen program introduces urban livestock licensing and regulation to Calgarians, ensuring proper housing, care conditions and opportunities to address any community-based concerns are incorporated,” says Lawlor.


Calgarians interested in applying for an urban livestock licence will need to ensure egg-cellent hen keeping training and caretaking to meet application criteria:

·       Be 18+ years old or have a parent or guardian apply on their behalf.

·       Complete approved hen keeping and care training.

·       Own the property hens will be kept on, or have written expressed content from the property owner.

·       Acquire a free Premise Identification (PID) Number from the Government of Alberta.

·       Confirm the number of hen licences requested (the RPO Bylaw requires ownership of between 2 to 4, as hens are group animals).

Applicants will also need to acquire a pre-application enquiry file number from The City of Calgary Planning and Development, depending on their site plan for where hens will be kept. Full details about the program and a coop checklist are available on to guide applicants through the process.

Licence Lottery

The program will accept 100 applicants in its first year, as directed by Calgary City Council in June 2021 when the updated RPO Bylaw was passed. Should demand exceed 100 applicants, a lottery system will randomize applications once the intake has closed, to ensure equity. The first 100 applications selected from the lottery will then be processed.

The urban livestock licence lottery will open on Monday, March 21 at 11:00 a.m. at, and will be open until Monday, April 18, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

This gives Calgarians interested in the program enough time to understand program requirements and compile information needed for their application. This will be the only intake opportunity for Calgarians to apply for a hen keeping licence in 2022.

If necessary, a waitlist of additional applicants will be created through the lottery system. The waitlisted applications may be processed in 2022, or as part of the 2023 application intake.


Applicants will not be able to acquire their hens until their urban livestock licence is approved, as peace officers must first conduct an inspection of the backyard and coop/run prior to approval. Once approval is granted, licensed hen keepers must ensure hens remain in the coop or an enclosed run, and stay on the licensed property.

Roosters are not permitted and young hens (pullets) cannot be younger than 16 weeks old. Urban hen owners who do not abide by the conditions could have their licence revoked.

The update to the Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) Bylaw went into effect on January 1, 2022. Last revised over 12 years ago, the bylaw update recognizes that pet ownership in Calgary has evolved and includes the expansion of licensing that will also oversee regulation of pigeon and bee keeping this year. The updated bylaw continues to create a safe environment for pets and Calgarians.

More information on the urban hen program and licensing criteria is now available on