More than 300 cities in North America have amended their bylaws to allow urban chickens. ((Terri Trembath/CBC))

A Calgary woman is fighting a $200 fine, arguing she should be allowed to keep chickens in her backyard to help feed her three children.

Last month, bylaw officers fined Mary March after she refused to follow an order to remove the three hens from her Tuxedo neighbourhood home within 30 days.

A city bylaw forbids raising livestock in most urban areas, though there is an exemption for pigeons.

"I just thought it was absolutely ridiculous. As far as I'm concerned it's my right to food. I didn't think that was against the law," March told CBC News.

In front of a justice of the peace Tuesday, March pleaded not guilty to keeping livestock in the city. A trial date was set for next April 1.


Mary March, holding her youngest child, is fighting to keep three hens in her Calgary backyard. ((Terri Trembath/CBC))

The hens lay three eggs a day that feed her children, March told reporters outside the courthouse.

"They're wonderful. They're friendly. The kids love them. They're quiet, and they don't stink if you clean up. They're great pets and animals and food producers," March said of the hens that she's had for six months.

The Calgary Liberated Urban Chicken Klub, known as CLUCK, is supporting March in her fight. They're lobbying for changes to the bylaw to allow residents to keep up to six hens for their eggs.

More than 300 cities in North America, including Vancouver and New York, have amended their bylaws to allow urban chickens.

"There's way worse animals that people have as far as I'm concerned — boa constrictors or you know, silly, dangerous pets like that that don't produce food," said March.