FAQ

You and your Urban Hens

How to keep your Backyard girls happy and healthy.



Do I have to apply for a special permit?

Link to municipal regulations Still to come

PID number Apply for a PID

Premises Identification Regulations

Link to Hen Courses Still to come.



How many hens am I allowed to keep?

This depends on your location and municipal rules but we offer standard packages with 3 birds.



Where do the chickens go in the winter?

There is an isolation period when the hens return to our family farm and the birds are then integrated with the main flock. We will sell eggs back to urban hen customers at a reduced fee of $4 per dozen.



How many eggs will my hens lay?

After their first week of getting settled in, each bird should lay on average 5 eggs a week.



Can I get the same birds back for the next year?

We understand and hope bonds are formed with your backyard hens. If you want the same hens back, let us know! Leg bands can be put on birds and we will do our best to make sure you receive the same birds.



What if I want to keep my chickens?

You will need to ensure you have a winterized coop with the ability to add supplementary heat, and the ability to keep water from freezing.



What if my hen stops laying?

Chickens do not produce an egg every day. If you are not satisfied with your egg production, let us know and we will provide a replacement hen.



What do I feed my chickens? What about snacks/treats?

Chickens should eat ½ cup of layer ration a day, and 2 tbsp of treats but no more than 10% of their total food intake. Good treats include vegetables, especially leafy greens, fruits, and grains. Foods NOT recommended include onion, garlic, avocado pits and skins, rhubarb, potatoes peels with green areas, undercooked or dried beans, salty, moldy or rotten foods.

UFA Layer Ration



What animals are predatory towards chickens in Alberta?

Hawks, Owls, Fox, Coyotes, weasels, dogs and cats.



What happens if a predator gets my chicken(s)?

Things happen. Predators need to eat too and sometimes they get into the coop. Contact us immediately.



Should I wash the eggs from my hens?

You should wash your eggs prior to use. The hen covers the egg with a protective coat called the “bloom”, this protects the egg from bacteria getting in. It is important to wash the egg prior to use. If your eggs are soiled with dirt or poop it is important to get that off with warm water and scrub. Make sure if you do wash your eggs to refrigerate them right after.

Add link to egg wash for purchase: (Still to come).



How long should my egg last?

Fresh eggs last a long time. Eggs can last for days on the counter as long as they are unwashed, and … in the fridge. If ever in doubt whether an egg is good or bad do the water test. If it floats it is bad, if it doesn’t it’s still good.



Do my hens need a rooster in order to lay eggs?

No, your hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs.



What if my hen dies?

Unfortunately, hens can die. If a hen dies in your care, due to natural causes, we will replace your hen with a new hen. We will replace a hen as long as the death is not a result of neglect.



Are chickens noisy?

Chickens are not usually noisy, however they do like to cheer once they’ve laid an egg, and could be considered noisey then. Hens are still less noisy than the neighbourhood dog.



What if I decide my hens aren’t for me and my family? It’s not working how you hoped?

This is why we are here. We are here to make sure that the experience of urban hen keeping is an amazing experience. If it is not for your family, we are more than happy to come and pack up your coop and hens for you.



What happens if a hen gets sick?

If a hen gets sick, please contact Wild Ruby Rose right away, so we can assist the hen and bring a new hen. We will take the sick hen back to the farm and give her the best possible care to get her better.



How old will my hens be?

They will be around 5 months old, and ready to lay.



I’m going on vacation are my hens okay to be left alone?

You could ask a neighbour to watch your chickens for the few days you are gone, to make sure they have fresh food and water and that the eggs are collected (as a bonus let your neighbour keep the eggs for their service - who doesn’t want fresh eggs!). Or you will always have the option to look into our hensitting program for the duration that you are away.



Can my hen run free in my backyard?

We will have to see what your municipality allows.


Do hens smell?

The hens themselves don’t stink, however their soiled areas do ( just as any other animal). You just need to keep a clean coop and keep their shavings clean, and you shouldn’t smell a thing.



How long is the rental agreement?

The rental agreement is from May 1st- September 30th



How does rent work?

Fill out an application form on our website, we will then contact you. We will go over what we offer, and learn a little bit about you. Once approved to be an urban hen keeper, we will set up a date that will work for you to bring your seasonal hen set up. We will provide you with 3 brown-egg laying hens, a summer coop, feeder, water, all necessities to get started, as well as support and mentorship. Once the seasonal contract is up we will then contact you and find a time that will work for us to pick up.



Will chickens get along with my pets?

Hens are very curious and quite friendly, they are flock animals and enjoy the companionship with other hens. Since they like companionship this makes them generally friendly toward other animals. However, it is very difficult to know if your pet and hens will get along. If you are wanting them to meet, it’s good to use the slow and through the fence approach first. It is also recommended to never leave your pets and hens alone.



What are the coops like?

The coops have the safety and comfort of the hens in mind for design first. The coops vary in size and each are unique, functional and aesthetically pleasing. The coops are designed to be moveable around your yard, to provide green grass for the hens, as well as some great fertilizer for your lawn.



Will chickens run/fly away?

Chickens can run and fly(limited). Once they are settled into their seasonal home hens will be quite content and will not try to run/fly away. They are curious and that does sometimes get them adventuring off too far. If you plan to allow your hens out of their run/coop area, just make sure you watch them. Hens will come easily to treats, and much rather follow you around and socialize, then run/fly away.



Can I buy the coop, feeder and water at the end of the rental agreement?

Our coops are not suitable for Alberta harsh winters. Please contact us and we can discuss your options.



What are the benefits of having Urban hens?

Chicken’s are exceptionally therapeutic and stress relieving, they are also hilarious, entertaining and full of personality. Also, they are quite obliging with giving eggs. They tighten the Farm to table distance, having hens allows you to have nutritious, fresh, delicious eggs right out of your back door. Hens provide you eggs which creates a secure, local food system; providing a learning opportunity for children to learn where their food comes from. Hens love helping with gardening, they will provide pest control, and create fertilizer from their manure.



Are backyard chicken eggs superior to factory farmed eggs?

Yes! Backyard chickens that have access to vitamin D from the sun and green grass produce healthier and we think tastier eggs!



Do Chickens bite?

They can peck.


Do chickens have large talons?

Luckily chickens won’t attack but if you do pick them up please be aware that their feet can scratch you.



What if I get scratched/pecked?

Disinfect the areas and treat with appropriate first aid.