Do other municipalities allow backyard hens?

    Yes, many municipalities including Brampton, Edmonton, Guelph, Kitchener, Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria have either implemented an urban hen pilot or a full urban hen program

    Do backyard hens cause a lot of noise?

    Most backyard chickens are quiet, only getting vocal when they have just laid an egg or there is danger about - either noise won’t last long, and isn’t particularly loud in the first place. It is true that some breeds are more chatty than others, but at their loudest, chickens have the same decibel level as a human conversation (60-70 decibels). Compared to a dog’s bark which can reach over 90 decibels, chickens can hardly be called a noisy animal. Roosters will not be permitted.

    Do backyard hens attract unwanted pests and animals?

    Proper care and maintenance of hen enclosures and flocks help to minimize unwanted pests. However, unmaintained hen enclosures can attract unwanted animals, including rodents seeking food scraps. This in turn can attract large predators, such as coyotes seeking prey, which can lead to increased activity and human-wildlife conflicts. Animal Services staff will provide education and public awareness on hen care and best practices to mitigate pest concerns for all program participants.  

    Will anyone be able to keep backyard hens?

    No. Only those who meet the licensing and program requirements will be permitted to keep hens. These requirements include:

    • Having a property with enough space for a hen enclosure to be located in the property’s rear yard
    • At least three metres (9.84 feet) clearance of the hen enclosure from the property line 
    • At least 6.1 metres (20.01 feet) clearance of the hen enclosure from any school, church, or residential building not located on the same lot

    Participants will also be required to meet requirements around standards of care, pest control and waste management. Urban hens will also be required to remain on the participant’s property.  See the setback requirements diagram.

    Is a license required to keep hens and what would the process be?

    Yes, a license is required. Interested residents would apply by submitting an application to participate in the program. If a property meets the requirements, a letter would be sent to the adjoining properties to request their consent. If consent is granted, the resident would be approved for a license provided that they meet the By-law requirements for enclosures, number of animals, and standards of care. Site visits would be conducted by Animal Field Services Officers to ensure compliance. If consent is not granted, a license would not be approved.

    How many hens would residents be allowed to keep?

    Residents would be allowed to keep a minimum of two and up to four hens, four months or older. This is to ensure that they are hens, not roosters, which are prohibited. A minimum a two hens is required for their social well being. Hens will only be kept for egg production, not personal consumption.

    What would a typical hen coop look like?

    These requirements are based on the City of Toronto’s urban hen pilot program:

    Coop must be no more than two metres (six feet, six inches) high and a maximum of 9.2 square metres (100 square feet) floor area. Coop must provide each hen with at least 0.37 square metres (four square feet) of coop floor area, and at least 0.92 square metres (10 square feet) of roofed outdoor enclosure. Coop must include: 

    • perch for each hen that is at least 20 centimetres (eight inches) long nest box(es) of a size that is suitable for the number of hens.
    • Coop must have a roof and doors that will be locked at night.

    Will there be a fee if I want to own hens?

    Yes, there will be annual $50 licensing fee. This fee is comparable to the licensing fee for cats and dogs, but reflective of the additional steps in the urban hens licensing process.

    Why do we have to pay a licensing fee?

    Licensing fees help to offset the administrative costs associated with the licensing and registration process and will help to ensure compliance with program requirements.

    Will there be a penalty for not complying with the By-law requirements?

    An Administrative Penalty System (APS) penalty of $100 would be introduced through the Licensing Administrative Penalty By-law 0135-2014, as amended, to enforce the By-law provisions and improve compliance.

    What is the potential of an urban hen program being launched in Mississauga?

    The City of Mississauga is launching an urban hen public consultation program as part of the development of an urban agriculture strategy to determine the receptiveness of an urban hen program in Mississauga. Information from the public consultation on hens will be used to inform actions in the urban agriculture strategy, if applicable.

    What is the purpose of the backyard setbacks? (see setback diagram below)

    The setback are intended to mitigate potential concerns with noise or odor, since livestock has not traditionally been permitted in residential areas.

    Setback diagram

    Will there be exceptions?

    No, exceptions to the program requirements will not be granted.

    What is urban agriculture?

    • Urban agriculture is the practice of growing, processing, sharing, and distributing food within the city.
    • Examples of urban agriculture can include growing fruit, vegetables and herbs for personal consumption, for commercial sale, for educational purposes and to promote community health and wellness.
    • Examples of urban agriculture practices include community gardens, residential gardens, urban farms, hydroponics and farmers markets

    How does the City currently support urban agriculture activities?

    The City works with Ecosource to manage, operate and maintain community gardens. Ecosource is an innovative environmental organization specializing in fun, hands-on programs that focus on changing daily habits to become better environmental citizens. Since 2006, Ecosource has been managing and operating the community garden program in Mississauga. There are nine public community gardens, including one urban agriculture/teaching garden, in Mississauga parks, which are managed by Ecosource.

    What is Mississauga's draft vision statement?

    The City of Mississauga will support access to healthy and culturally appropriate food, while preserving the ecological and cultural heritage of the land.

    Through community education, health, wellness and healing, the City of Mississauga will increase creative and diverse opportunities for urban agriculture where entrepreneurship and innovation will be encouraged. 

    Through the Urban Agriculture Strategy, the City will work to encourage healthier lifestyles, empower the community to learn new skills about growing and harvesting produce, improve food security, and support local businesses. 

    Urban agriculture provides multiple benefits that help the City advance its environmental, social and economic priorities.

    What is the Urban Agriculture Strategy?

    • The goal of the UA strategy is to work together as a community to enhance and grow urban agriculture efforts throughout the city.
    • The City of Mississauga’s Urban Agriculture Strategy will promote, support and enable inclusive, culturally-relevant local food initiatives focused on meeting the needs of Mississauga’s diverse and most vulnerable communities.
    • Mississauga is an urban community where urban agriculture activities such community gardens, vertical and urban farming can enhance health and well-being, stimulate the local economy, and adapt to/mitigate climate-related impacts and strengthen community-level resilience and preparedness.
    • The City of Mississauga's Urban Agriculture Strategy will support individuals, communities and local businesses to develop creative ideas to expand local food initiatives and improve food security in Mississauga.

    Does Mississauga have farmers’ markets?

    Fresh produce and artisanal goods can also be purchased at farmers’ markets in the city, a few examples are:

    Find more information on farmers’ markets in Mississauga, visit farmer-markets.

    What are the benefits of urban agriculture?

    The benefits of urban agriculture are numerous. Some include:

    • Environmental 
      • Reducing food miles 
      • Improving soil health
      • Supporting biodiversity and pollinator habitat 
    • Social 
      • Improving food security
      • Providing educational opportunities to increase food literacy for all ages
      • Providing opportunities to grow culturally diverse food
    • Economic 
      • Supporting local food entrepreneurship
      • Growing food at home or in the city can mean less money spent at the grocery store
    • Health 
      • Eating more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables
      • Participating in gardening can benefit physical and mental health

    What is a community garden?

    Community gardens are a shared space to grow food. They encourage active and healthy living, and help green the city. Mississauga’s public community garden program is run by Ecosource. Community gardens consist of member plots where residents can sign up for an individual plot to grow their food, and community plots where volunteers grow food for local food banks or to be used in community programs.

    How can I participate in urban agriculture activities?

    There are many ways to participate in urban agriculture. You can: 

    • Start your own garden at home.
    • Join a community garden - If you are interested in a plot to grow your own food, you can sign up to become a member gardener. To sign up to become a member gardener or participate in a community plot, email or call 905-274-6222 ext. 303. 
    • Visit a farmers’ market and support local.

    How are urban agriculture and climate change connected?

    In the City’s recently approved Climate Change Action Plan, Action #9: Continue to Identify and Mitigate Climate-Related Risks and Enhance Community-Level Resilience and Preparedness, sub-action 9-4 is to develop an urban agriculture and food security strategy.


    There are many ways urban agriculture and climate change are connected. Some include:

    • Growing food in the city helps to reduce food miles travelled, shortening the travel time from farm to plate, and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    • More green spaces can help biodiversity, pollinators and reduce urban heat island effect. 
    • By growing organically and using sustainable methods reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides, helping improve soil health.

    What is hydroponic gardening?

    A growing method where plants are grown in sand, gravel, or liquid, not soil. Nutrients are added to the growing medium to sustain the plants.

    What is aeroponic gardening?

    A soil-less growing method which delivers nutrients to hanging or exposed roots.

    What is aquaponic gardening?

    A growing system that includes plants and fish or other aquatic animals. The fish supply nutrients to the plants which purify the water.

    What is a hoop house?

    Hoop Houses are small, semi-portable greenhouse structures that are used as for starting seedlings and for growing heat-loving vegetables.

    What is the urban hen pilot program?

    On May 5th, 2021, Council approved a small urban hen pilot with up to ten sites in Ward 5 and 6 (plus one additional existing site in Ward 3) for a 24-month period. The Pilot will be launching later this year. For more information on the pilot in Ward 5, contact the Councillor Parrish,, 905-896-5500; in Ward 6, contact Councillor Starr,, 905-896-5600; in Ward 3, contact Councillor Fonseca,, 905-896-5300.