Backyard chickens in Prince George won't fly: council

Prince George city council has clipped the wings of those who would like to see backyard hens kept in the city.

Council says noise, smell and need for enforcement make backyard chickens a bad idea

The group Poultry for PG wanted Prince George council to allow citizens to keep up to six hens in backyard coops. (Ryan Stanton/The Ann Arbor News/Associated Press)

Prince George city council has clipped the wings of those who would like to see backyard hens kept in the city.

A motion to allow staff to look at running a pilot project for backyard hens in the city was defeated by a vote of five to three Monday evening.

The group Poultry for PG has been campaigning to allow people to keep up to six hens — and no roosters — on residential lots.

It presented city council with a petition from over 400 people supporting the move, but council was not swayed.

"I think for me what it comes down to is the basic expectation and decision of urban versus rural living," Coun. Terri McConnachie, who voted against the motion, said. "I don't see a real hardship when it comes to access to eggs."

Coun. Frank Everett also voted against the motion.

"I, for one, don't want our bylaws department or animal control running around the city chasing loose chickens," he said. "That's what would happen. We will have people who would follow the rules very nicely and have them in the coop, and we'll have others who don't do that."

'It is your right to grow food'

Poultry for PG spokesperson Laura Lawrence called the vote a frustrating outcome.

"It was kind of like beating your head against a wall, because we had already addressed so many of these concerns in our presentation," she told Radio West host Rebecca Zandbergen.

Lawrence says Prince George has no egg production at all, and any eggs in the city are shipped from elsewhere.

"It is your right to grow food if you do it appropriately," she said. "You can do this if it's regulated properly … there's no noise, there's no smell. These things that are coming up, it's just not going to be an issue in comparison to dogs, cats, all these other problems."

Lawrence says she and the rest of her group will be bringing the issue back before council in the future and hope to change the minds of some councillors.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Backyard chicken fans in Prince George clucking mad over council decision

With files from Daybreak North


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