Hamilton Ontario: my hens have to go, now what?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 27, 2008
I got a visit from animal control yesterday, as someone (the office wouldn't say who but I know it was my manic-depressive, semi-employed neighbour who has been hassling me about everything, including my trees "stealing" her sunlight), and I've been ordered to get rid of my 3 backyard hens. I have one month to do it, or I get fined. I guess eventually, they'd be seized.

The officer was very pleasant and indicated that I should see if my local alderman/councillor could help me out. "Unofficially." He actually said that our house is the prettiest on our street (which is true: we are yuppies who moved onto an up-and-coming, predominantly working-class street, and we've poured loads of cash into restoring our formerly decrepit century home), and that I should appeal to the councillor to help me out because clearly the bylaw was not created to penalize people with 3 clean hens in a clean, well-landscaped and tended yard. (He was shocked when he came into our yard--I think he was expecting some sort of mini factory-farm slaughterhouse or something.)

I am not sure how effective this would be. I mean, if my neighbours complained, what could he do about that?

What do you guys think? Should I see what the city councillor can do, or should I try a more evasive move where I pretend I got rid of them, then bring them back a bit later? But my neighbours are semi-employd and home all day, so they'll see the instant the hens come back.

Anyone know of ways to get hens exempted in a city with a bylaw preventing them? Can I say they are "educational" if I host tours of the coop with my local school, or anything like that?

Any tips? Has anyone here ever successfully kept their hens after getting an order to remove them?


11 Years
Mar 1, 2008
Macedon, NY
You should do what animal control has suggested. Lots of people have gotten bad laws changed. It's really easy IF the local alderman/councillor sees the current law is poorly written. The animal control person sure seems to think it is.


12 Years
Dec 28, 2007
SW Ont, Canada
Do you know specifically wht the bylaws are? Have you researched them? If not, I would find them out and be familiar with them first.

then I would gather as much info as possible w/o being too overwhelming as to the benefits of keeping chickens, the health concerns, etc.

Then I would march right up to the town councillor and have a meeting with him/her. Ask if there are any loopholes, variances, permits one might obtain in order to keep them.

All the while doing this, be exceptionally nice to your neighbours. Not to the sucking up point, but the don't you feel like an idiot--we are succh nice ppl-- point

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