Cold Lake residents might be seeing some clucking new pets around, as the city opens up its urban hen raising program.

Back in the spring, City Council had given the ok to allow residents to apply for a licence to install backyard coops and raise hens on private property. The allowance does come with some rules, which the City of Cold Lake set up after looking into the way it worked in other municipalities that allowed it.

Anyone raising these birds has to Be at least 18 years old, successfully complete an accredited hen keeping training course and have a license from the city.

Then, they must make sure neighbours know the hens are moving in, keep no more than 4 hens and no roosters, as they’re not allowed on non-agriculture land, provide all the necessities for food, heat, vet care and social interaction between hens. People also cannot sell the meat or eggs harvested from the hens.

“Raising backyard hens allows families to know exactly where their food is coming from and it gives young people an opportunity for valuable, hands-on learning when it comes to raising livestock,” says Mayor Craig Copeland. “We really encourage anyone thinking about applying for a licence to be certain that they have the time and patience to dedicate to their operation.”

So that people can have a course to get that license, the City is partnering with Alberta Farm Animal Care to provide a two-part virtual training workshop for residents interested in raising hens on Tuesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 29 from 7-9 p.m. via Zoom.

People interested will get the details on animal handling, flock health, coop design, bylaws and licencing requirements, breeds and diseases and the associated costs of raising hens.

Even if people can’t attend live, they’ll be able to register and watch the recordings up to three months later. All applicants need to pass a test before they can be approved for a license.

A select amount licenses will be handed out yearly and will need to be renewed annually thereafter. The needed links and phone numbers are on the City of Cold Lake’s website.

Written by Dan Soul, 106.1 The Goat