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The number of chickens or ducks that can be kept in the City of Nanaimo depends on the size of your property:

Less than 0.045 hectares (450 sq m): no more than 4 chickens or ducks

Less than 0.4 hectares (1 acre) but greater than 0.045 hectares (450 sq m): no more than 6 chickens or ducks

0.4 hectares (1 acre) or more: 12 unless zoned for agricultural use

  • No roosters or peafowl may be kept on any property less than 1 acre

  • A minimum enclosure of 4 square feet per chicken or duck must be provided

  • Any structure containing poultry, whether portable or stationary, is subject to the setback requirements of the zone

  • Structures housing poultry must be kept clean, dry, and free from odours

  • Areas within and surrounding any structure housing poultry must be kept free from vermin

  • Any diseased chicken or duck must be killed and the carcass destroyed

  • No slaughtering of chickens or ducks may occur on the property

  • Chicken and duck manure and waste products must be composted or disposed of to prevent odours

  • Chickens or ducks are not permitted within a dwelling unit

  • Poultry may not stray or trespass anywhere other than the property of the owner and may not roam on any unfenced land

  • Welfare requirements such as adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care also apply to poultry

Failure to comply with these conditions can result in fines of up to $150 per day. The impound fee for any poultry found at large is $10 and the board fee is $10 per day.


Other Poultry

Domesticated fowl such as geese, turkeys and quail are permitted to be kept on properties of at least one acre. They may not stray or trespass in any public place or on any private property and may not graze on unfenced land.

Keeping Happy and Healthy Chickens

If you are serious about keeping chickens do yourself a big favour and build yourself a decent chicken coop. If you can't conveniently enter the coop you will be less likely to clean it. Dirty chicken coops generate complaints: odor, flies, rats, and disease. Don’t build a chicken coop out of three sheets of plywood and a hockey net unless you want to meet an Animal Control Officer. Chickens are smart and it won’t take them long to find a way out. They’ll be exploring, scratching and eating things in your neighbour’s garden in no time and we won’t talk about the messy stuff they’ll leave behind.


chicken coop

We recommend that you also build a chicken run (a fully fenced area including wire across the top) and attach it directly to the chicken coop. A coop and run like the one pictured above could be located on a vegetable garden in fall and winter months. Every few weeks move it a few feet and the chickens will eradicate the weeds and naturally fertilize the soil in the process.

Like roosters, hens can be quite noisy at daybreak and they should be contained to the coop until 7 a.m.

Lastly, beware of predators. In Nanaimo there are lots of raccoons that would love to dine on your chickens or their eggs. Build coops and runs for two purposes: to contain chickens and keep predators out. Unfortunately there have also been a couple of incidents where a stray dog has broken into a chicken coop and killed chickens.

The "Vancouper" chicken coop hand made in Vancouver by

More Information

The District of Saanich has compiled some basic information about keeping chickens in an urban area. See their pdf called Hen Basics.

Visit the Canadian Food Inspection's Bird Health Basics page for information on preventing and detecting disease in backyards flocks.

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