Krista Fornataro 0

Appeal to Blackfalds town council to allow backyard chickens

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This is an appeal to the town of Blackfalds to allow (with restrictions) backyard chickens.

Mr. Poole and Members of the Council,

I respectfully request the Council consider and find that a small number of hens kept properly confined in their owners yard be deemed household pets, and therefore permitted to be kept within the town limits of Blackfalds.

Across the country, urban and suburban areas are allowing small backyard flocks of hens. Major cities allowing hens as pets include Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer.

Closer to home, the city of Lacombe allows up to four chickens to be kept, provided they are confined to a coop.

Hens as Pets

Owners of pet hens prize them for their tame, friendly and entertaining personalities, but also because they can play a part in a greener lifestyle. They naturally control insect pests, eat vegetable scraps, improve the lawn and even provide eggs for the table. Owners refer to their pets as urban chickens or city chickens.

It can be seen that backyard hens are pets rather than livestock from several points. First, the owner keeps hens only; keeping chickens as livestock would require a rooster for breeding. Secondly eggs produced by backyard hens, if any, would be used by the owners and not sold. Finally, the number of hens would be too small to constitute a profitable venture in either eggs or meat.

Such owner shall be required to insure that no public nuisance be created or maintained A small number of hens properly cared for as pets will create no public nuisance, whether noise disturbance, odor or other type of nuisance and no threat to the health or safety of any person shall be created.

At minimum, this requires that the animals be properly restrained Hens kept as pets are kept in a pen that prevents them leaving their owners property or from interacting with visitors to the owners property and that all litter and droppings be disposed of so that no health or odor problem is created.

Responsible owners will meet this condition.

- No household pets shall be allowed on any property other than the owners dwelling. Hens kept in a pen are unable to access any property other than their owners.

- Forbids noise disturbances. Hens do not make noise often nor for prolonged periods, certainly less so than, e.g., dogs. Noise disturbances from chicken keeping are created by roosters; the petitioner expressly does not intend to keep a rooster and does not ask that roosters be considered pets.

- Animal defecation on public and private property. In summary, it forbids pet owners allowing their pets to urinate or defecate on public property or on any private property other than the owners. Since pet hens are penned on the owners property, this would not be a concern.

- Requires that the pet owner is responsible for proper disposal of animal waste from a nuisance. Since pet hens are penned on their owners property, this would not be a concern.

Penalties for violations of this ordinance. They would apply to pet hens equally as any other household pet.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


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