Urban hens licensing pilot program

Urban hens have become a growing trend across North America. In an effort to be more involved in their food production, many urban residents across Canada have opted to raise and keep hens in their backyards. 

Effective March 1, 2020, an Urban Hens Pilot Program (Pilot Program) has been approved for Tecumseh residents. You are now allowed to keep backyard hens on your property as long as you comply with the Terms and Conditions of the two-year Pilot Program which expires on April 30, 2022

The Pilot Program allows:

  • If your property is under 10,000 square feet - a limit of six (6) female hens;
  • If your property is over 10,000 square feet - an additional hen is allowed per 3,000 square feet up to a maximum of 12 hens.

If you would like to keep urban hens, you must:

An on-site inspection of the property will take place by the Town to make sure that you are in compliance with the terms and conditions outlined in the Pilot Program and registration form. If you are in compliance, the Town will issue urban hen identification bands.

Please note: This Pilot Program will be evaluated after April 30, 2022 to determine whether or not it will continue.

February 28, 2020 News Release - Tecumseh's Urban Hens Licensing Pilot Program Begins March 1

Registration process

A registration form for the Urban Hens Licensing Pilot Program may be completed and submitted online.  If you have difficulty completing the online form, please contact Sue White at 519-735-2184, ext. 117 or Shaun Fuerth at 519-735-2184, ext. 108. 

Online Registration Form


  • If you wish to complete the registration form online, you must have the ability to upload Word, Excel, or PDF documents from your computer or documents that have the following extensions: PDF, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, jpg, jpeg, gif, png, tif.
  • Fields that have a red asterisk (*) next to them must be completed or you won’t be able to submit the form.
  • If you accidently skip over a question and try to submit, you will get an error message at the top of the screen.  Click on the error and it will bring you to the spot on the form where the information is missing. Please ensure that the information you enter is correct.
  • To upload or attach a document, click the “Browse” button and go to the location on your computer where the document is kept. Click twice on the document until you see the name of the document pop up next to “Browse” and then hit the “Upload” button.
  • The online registration form allows you to save your form to complete at a later time and also allows you to clear any information you have entered. These buttons are located at the bottom of the form page.
Application review process
  1. Once the registration form has been submitted, it will be reviewed by Town staff.
  2. If it meets the requirements, you will be contacted and will be requested to sign the submitted registration form, terms and conditions and pay an annual licence fee of $25.00.
  3. You may then construct the hen coop and run.
  4. Once the structures have been built, you will be required to email Christina Hebert to advise that you are ready for a site inspection.
  5. A site inspection will be scheduled and if the structures meet the specifications, the coop and run licence will be approved, and hen identification bands will be provided on site.
  6. Should you wish to amend the registration form (e.g. purchase more hens), you must notify Christina Hebert by email to make sure that the terms and conditions are still being met.
Frequently asked questions
How do I register my Urban Hens?
If you wish to keep urban hens, you must first register your property with the Town of Tecumseh (Town) by submitting the Registration Form. Paper copies of the form are also available at Town Hall, located at 917 Lesperance Road. 

If you are using a paper copy of the form, a completed Registration Form may be dropped off at Town Hall during regular office hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and must include the following items:

  • Site plan illustration;
  • If you are a tenant, written consent of the property owner to allow hens on their property;
  • Written notice to the abutting property owner(s) that you have made application for a hen coop and hen run permit
  • Payment of the annual license fee of $25.00. 

The above documents will also be required if you are doing an online submission.

Is there a licence fee?

Yes, there is an annual licence fee of $25.00 per Registration Form.

You may pay by cash, debit or cheque.  Cheques should be made payable to the Town of Tecumseh.

How many hens may I keep on my residential property?

A residential property may keep a maximum of:

  • If property is less than 10,000 square feet, maximum of 6 hens; and
  • If property is greater than 10,000 square feet, for every additional 3,000 square feet, you are permitted 1 extra hen to a maximum of 12 hens.

Please refer to the Property Lot Size Requirements.

A minimum of two (2) hens is required as hens are very social creatures. 

Are roosters allowed in the residential areas of the Town?

No, roosters are not allowed within the Town’s residential areas.

Only hens, including pullets which are young female chicks under the age of one, are permitted. 

Where on my property may I keep hens? 
  • Located within the rear yard of the lot;
  • The total area of all hen coops and runs are less than 11.15 square metres (120 square feet) for properties under 10,000 square feet, or 15.60 square metres (168 square feet) for properties greater than 10,000 square feet;
  • The hen coop and run are less than 3 metres (10 feet) in height;
  • A minimum 0.37 square metres (4 square feet) coop floor area per hen;
  • A minimum 0.92 square metres (10 square feet) hen run per hen;
  • A minimum 1.2 metres (4 feet) setback from the lot lines;
  • A minimum 1.5 metres (5 feet) setback from the main dwelling.
What are the maintenance requirements for the hen coop and run?
  • All coops must be enclosed on all sides and have a roof and doors in working order;
  • Access to doors must be able to shut and lock at night;
  • If there are any windows and vents, they must be predator and bird-proof;
  • All coops must be kept in a clean, dry, odour-free, neat and sanitary condition at all times;
  • The coop must be weather-proofed and the enclosure insulated with air temperature suitable for the health of the hens;
  • The coop must have adequate ventilation and adequate sun and shade.
Do the hens need to be kept in the coop at all times? 

Hens must be kept in their coops from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am.

During daylight hours, hens may be allowed outside of their coop in a securely-fenced hen run on the property of the Owner. 

Are owners allowed to sell the eggs from their property?

No, eggs produced by hens are for personal use only.

The Owner agrees not to sell or offer for sale any part of a hen or its eggs or manure or engage in hen breeding or fertilizer production for commercial purposes. 

What happens if a hen(s) is found to be running at large?

Your hens are not allowed or permitted to run at large at any time. 

Where the Town has taken possession of a hen at large, it will be impounded with the Windsor Essex County Humane Society (WECHS) for 24 hours after the date of seizure. During the 24 hour time period, you may pick up the hen subject to a fee imposed by the WECHS. 

If the hen is not picked up within 24 hours, the hen becomes the property of the WECHS. 

How will public health be protected in connection with health risks from hens? 

The following links provide recommended health and safety guidelines: 

Who should a Town resident contact in the case they have a complaint about a neighbour keeping hens?

If you are concerned about hens in violation of the Urban Hens Pilot Program Terms and Conditions, call the Planning & Building Department at 519-735-2184 ext. 132.

If you have inquiries regarding the registration process, please call the Corporate Services & Clerk’s Department at 519-735-2184 ext. 143.

If you have issues completing the online registration form, call 519-735-2184, ext. 117.

Other helpful links