Council puts kibosh on allowing backyard hens

A chicken coop. Photo by Tim Evanson/Flickr

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John City Council voted in favour of not reopening the issue of allowing residents to keep hens in their backyards, citing concerns from the SPCA.

Last April, discussions to potentially allow residents to keep hens in their backyards were included in Council’s June strategic planning sessions. But on January 8th the discussion item, which included discussions about the hens along with cat regulations, was dropped from Council’s Works in Progress list after Mayor Lori Ackerman indicated that the topics weren’t included in the strategic plan.


Resident Lance Bayet wrote a letter to Council at the end of last month, asking for the issue of allowing backyard poultry to be reconsidered. A motion was passed to reaffirm that the topic of backyard hens be dropped from Council’s Works in Progress, effectively quashing any further discussion on allowing backyard chicken coops.

The North Peace SPCA is contracted by the City to impound animals at large which are rounded up by bylaw officers. Mayor Ackerman explained that the SPCA continually faces capacity issues, which it said would be exacerbated by the shelter having to take care of chickens in addition to those animals it already cares for.