Rules are changing for how backyard hens are being kept in Prince Edward County.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, the Prince Edward County Council voted to amend the Backyard Hen By-law which permits residents to keep a small number of hens on urban properties. Roosters are strictly prohibited due to noise concerns.

The rule changes follow multiple complaints to the council of people breaking the existing rules for backyard hens, such as allowing their hens to run around freely on other people’s property.

Under the amended by-law, hens will no longer be allowed to roam at large outside the owner’s property, and fines for breaking the by-law were clarified. Penalties for breaking the backyard hen rules can now result in stiff fines, totaling up to $25,000.

Councilor Kate McNaughton said that the by-law needed to be updated to clarify penalties for breaking it, after multiple complaints by residents.

“Well, the penalties weren’t clear. So we can’t, as a municipality, look to seek penalties unless we have a clear pathway to do so,” said Councilor McNaughton. “And that’s what staff needs in order to be able to approach the owners of random residential roosters and be able to dissuade people from letting those roosters stay on as long term guests.”

The amendments were passed after a short debate.

By zonxe