Vancouver okays regulations for backyard chickens
Published Wednesday, May 19, 2010 1:02PM PDT
Vancouver city council has approved rules for homeowners hankering after hens.
At a public hearing Tuesday night, council finalized a few more details for personal chicken ownership and set out rules about the size and location of the chicken coops.
Bird enclosures must be one metre from the property line and three metres from the nearest door or window.
Residents can keep no more than four chickens in their backyards. The fowl will not be allowed on high-rise apartment balconies or in front yards.
Birds of a feather will not be able to flock together -- roosters, ducks, turkeys and pheasants will not be permitted under the bylaw.
Trish Kelley of the Vancouver Food Policy Council says she's excited the zoning bylaws are now set.
"So now we're good to go no one has to be an outlaw to keep chickens in Vancouver," she said.
Supporters of the movement also hope a few of the bylaws restrictions will be relaxed even more as time goes on.
"I think that's possible this will be a start and we can go from there," Kelley said.
Vancouver plans to set up an online registry for hen keepers. It's also putting $20,000 towards building shelter space for abandoned or seized chickens.
Backyard chicken keeper Julia Smith says keeping chickens has done much more than just provide fresh eggs for her family.
"It's been wonderful, the neighbours have been super supportive and friendly," Smith said.
"They eat all the weeds they eat the bugs and they're really good for the garden."
Smith says there are misconceptions about how hard it is to care for chickens -- something that may change as the bylaw expands and more people start keeping their own.
"I think as long as you follow the guidelines and are reasonably responsible and take good care of your chickens they're certainly not any more trouble than a dog," she said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber