Currently, Vancouver residents can only raise chickens in their backyards if they own a minimum one acre property. ((CBC))

A Vancouver woman is hoping city council will overturn a bylaw that makes it illegal to keep chickens in residential backyards.

"It’s a different time now and we have to think about being smart and being responsible and being sustainable, and chickens are that," said Heather Jarvey, who is raising two chickens of her own.

Jarvey said her two hens — Cheeks and Zilla — are like pets to her, with distinct personalities. Since getting the chickens, she added, her community has become closer.

"The neighbours think they’re really fun. The kids are interested. They make manure for your compost for your garden."

Municipalities including Burnaby and New Westminster already allow residents to raise chickens outdoors. So do American cities such as New York, Seattle and Portland.


Heather Jarvey said chickens make great pets and have distinct personalities. ((CBC))

However, Vancouver bylaws stipulate that only homeowners with a minimum of one acre of land can raise chickens.

"Vancouver is one of those communities claiming to be very sustainable and green," Jarvey said. "What's more sustainable and green than having a chicken in your backyard that gives you healthy, practically free protein?"

Jarvey scorns charges that chickens are loud and dirty, countering that hens, unlike roosters, make little noise. She added that chickens produce much less waste than dogs or cats, and their manure can be composted.

The motion is expected to be raised in council on Tuesday and if it passes, residents would be able to start raising chickens as early as June.