admin by Cherie Maclure | 30 Sep 2020
Local Food,Natural Ecosystems

Adapt the current bylaw to allow homeowners to keep 3-4 back yard hens

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Cherie Maclure on 10th Jan 2021

Cory you could also look at the bylaws in Saanich below is a link

Christina Ball on 2nd Nov 2020

I think allowing homeowners to keep 2-3 chickens (hens) is a good idea. People in Fairfield and other urban areas can do this, so I don’t see why not here. It would be important to consider the size of the yard to help mitigate annoyance to neighbors. Many of the new developments have such tiny yards that it wouldn’t be appropriate for those properties to have chickens. Also look to other urban jurisdictions for guidance on chicken coops, managing waste/smells, etc.

Eric T on 8th Oct 2020

A possible solution to the complaints about noise and smells would be to require chickens to be located adjacent to community gardens located in public parks. See my idea for that!
The idea there is that the chickens get to grub around the compost produced by the community garden and break down the compost quicker. It would also make our parks to be more food producing areas instead of the waste lands of “green spaces” that they currently are. Chickens generally survive better there are two or more, so grouping them at community garden sites would allow more of them to be kept together. When I lived in Yellowknife NWT, I lived in an apartment and was part of a chicken Co-op. We built the coop to house the chickens and they lived despite being -40C at times. We had 24 chickens.

I use the term wasted green spaces because of this article:
Mar Martínez on 1st Oct 2020

YES! or at least two (so they can keep each other company)
I guess it would depend on the size of the property

Idea author Cherie Maclure on 30th Sep 2020

Two years ago I presented the idea of residence being allowed to keep 3 to 4 backyard hens in sidney. I presented council with a report containing over 150 signatures to support the idea. I was told at that time I needed to come back during the (OCP official community plan) The OCP is currently under review and now is the time to make change!
Hens are an important piece of our ecosystem, not only do they give us beautiful fresh eggs with little work they also eat their body weight worth of nasty garden invaders every season and our great disposers of yard waste and veggie scraps!
If you are truly passionate you could always write a letter to city Council. 

Patricia Jarrett on 14th Nov 2020

The educational value for children would be invaluable.

Hi Cherie, there’s certainly an ongoing discussion these days about the need for local food security. Just playing devil’s advocate, what are some responses you might give to someone concerned about noise, smells, etc.? Are there model urban communities out there who you think have “done it right”?

Cherie Maclure on 9th Jan 2021

A small number of backyard hens (3-5) wouldn’t cause noise more then a backyard dog or song birds in trees. They also produce a very small amount of waste comparable to a small dog. I believe that Oak Bay has a great model. If you keep your chickens confined to the coop at all times, then you should provide 10 square feet per bird. In this case, a 5′ by 10′ coop would be adequate for 5 birds, a lot 6000 sq feet would adequately house this. 

Cherie Maclure on 9th Jan 2021

 Food should be something more than a package at a grocery store. Even with a small amount of land we are able to produce food sustainability. Chickens are omnivores by nature and thoroughly enjoy chasing down plant-destroying insects like grasshoppers, grubs, beetles, and larvae.Each year the city could charge a fee to register each bird as they do with Dogs.  People that desire Chickens could pay a larger one time set up fee to insure that the coop and area are properly set up. The coop and area could be inspected and approved by the City. Bylaws could be loosely copied  from neighboring areas like Oak Bay as we share similar land sizes and populations to help keep the cost of amending the bylaw down.

Idea author Cherie Maclure on 30th Sep 2020

the Sidney OCP is being planned now and a little goes a long way. If you have time complete the survey and be sure to mention it’s important for the city to be progressive and allow people to keep a few backyard hens. Almost every other municipality on the lower island allows it. Also if you have time for a quick letter to city Council it goes a long way. Now is the time to make change!
I presented my idea for residents to be allowed three or four backyard hens to city Council a few years ago and they told me I needed to wait for the OCP.
The OCP is happening as we speak so every letter counts!
Thank you so much for your support