The UrbanHensTO pilot program runs from March 2, 2018 to March 2, 2021 and allows residents to have urban hens in four wards across the City of Toronto. It is prohibited to keep hens that are not registered with the City of Toronto or are outside of the pilot area.
A common concern is the transmission of Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria from live poultry to humans. Live poultry are known to carry Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria in their droppings and on their bodies even when they appear healthy and clean. The bacteria can get on coops, feed and water dishes, as well as plants and soil in the area where the birds live and roam. Bacteria can also get on the hands, shoes, and clothes of people who handle and care for the birds. People become infected with Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria when they put their hands or equipment that has been in contact with live poultry in or around their mouth
Certain groups of people are at increased risk of infection. Children younger than 5 years of age have an increased risk of infection that can cause serious illness. This is due to their developing immune systems and frequent hand-to-mouth activities. Elderly individuals and people with weakened immune systems are also at increased risk.