Calgary Outlaws Backyard Chickens


A judge in Canada ruled last week that backyard chickens are not allowed within the city limits of Calgary.

Calgary resident Paul Hughes began keeping chickens in his backyard a few years ago. His six chickens provided eggs for his family.  Hughes called them “pets with benefits”.

Pets are allowed within the city limits of Calgary – dogs, cats, some birds – but not chickens. Larger livestock, such as horses or goats, is also prohibited.

When the city told Paul Hughes he couldn’t keep his chickens, he took the city to court. He said that buying eggs from a store is a financial burden for those with less income. Since people with more income don’t have this burden, the city’s regulation against chickens is a breach of equality.

The judge ruled that he had not submitted evidence to prove his positions. Hughes said he would appeal.

Urban and suburban farming is becoming more commonplace as people seek to take control of their food and, yes, save money.  More and more cities are having to reassess their regulations against large food gardens and small livestock.  If Paul Hughes wins his appeal, Calgary may be the next to reconsider what’s acceptable within city limits.

Pekin chicken photo via Shutterstock

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .