River City Chickens is an informal group of citizens who support responsible hen care in urban environments. People in cities around the world enjoy keeping hens right in their own backyards, including in North American cities like Victoria, Vancouver, Guelph, Niagara Falls, Brampton, Seattle, New York, LA, Portland, Madison, Houston, and Red Deer. Small backyard flocks can play a positive and sustainable role in the urban landscape.
Our history: In February, 2010 we requested the City's permission to conduct a year-long pilot project for to study the experiences of a small number of residents keeping hens in their backyards; the data compiled would be used to help the City evaluate the benefits of permitting hens on a city-wide basis. In August, 2010 we received a letter from a City official, advising us that "decisions regarding requests and proposals for exemptions to the Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw should be postponed until they can be evaluated in the context of the upcoming work to develop the City-wide food and agriculture strategy." On November 14, 2012 the City of Edmonton approved a Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy: fresh. Among the recommendations is that the City examine opportunities for citizens to keep bees and raise hens, including that it "[p]artner with local non-profits to assist in the evaluation of the implications of allowing urban backyard hens. City staff to report findings to City Council." The Report was considered on March 7, 2016, with Council "agree[ing] with City staff to extend the Urban Hens Pilot Project for another two years and to increase the number of permitted sites to 50." On March 7, 2016 Edmonton's Community Services Committee approved an expansion to up to 50 licenses, and in the spring of 2017, the Pilot Project became an Urban Hens Program!