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Louise Hanavan says she is sending her hens to a farm in Bridgewater. ((CBC))

Nova Scotia's minister of agriculture is coming to the defence of a Halifax woman who has been ordered to get rid of her three backyard hens.

Brooke Taylor said Halifax regional councillors may want to look at coming up with a policy that allows city dwellers to raise a chicken or two.

"It seems as if you're allowed to keep boas and pythons, and in some cases there's allegations of dangerous dogs and things of that nature, so let's not be too harsh on Louise Hanavan," Taylor said Thursday.

Hanavan has until the end of the month to get rid of Bernadette, Captain Crochet and Chicken, the hens that have been cooped up in her backyard in west-end Halifax since the spring.

The municipality stepped in after a neighbour complained the chicken feed was attracting rats.

An official letter to Hanavan said fowl are not allowed in an R-2 zone.

A spokesman for the Halifax Regional Municipality told CBC News on Wednesday that Hanavan was violating a municipal bylaw and that officials had no choice but to shoo her hens away.

Taylor, who is MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, said he doesn't want to run "afoul" of his municipal counterparts, but he doesn't see anything wrong with keeping a few chickens in the city.

He also said he doesn't believe the hens are responsible for the rats in Hanavan's neighbourhood.