A city committee has approved a pilot project that will allow backyard chickens in a few homes in Edmonton.

Mayor Don Iveson said he supports the idea, adding that it’s about time Edmonton embraced the backyard chicken.

“I think we’re just slow, frankly, in catching up with the local food movements,” Iveson said. “The desire for people to be reconnected to where their food comes from, to educate their kids about food production and animal care.”

Twelve homes will participate in the project, starting this fall. The backyard chicken owners will not be able to sell the hens' eggs or meat, and roosters will not be allowed.

Stuart Cutting spoke to council about his backyard coop in north Edmonton. After a neighbour complained, Cutting moved his hens out of the city. 

Cutting said the birds were a benefit while he had them at his house. 

“They cleaned out my backyard, they were eating the grass, they were eating the bugs, they were giving me eggs, they were rotating my compost.”

Council will work with the River City Chicken Group to come up with rules for owners to follow. 

A report on the pilot project will be completed in the fall of 2015.