A Constance Bay couple has until Friday to find a new home for three chickens they had been keeping in their backyard, according to city of Ottawa bylaw officers.

Erika Tar and and her partner Andrew Elliot have been keeping their three hens as pets in a pen behind their rural home.

But local bylaws don't allow residents to keep livestock as pets, unless the area is properly zoned.

Ottawa's Bylaw Services spokesperson Christine Hartig said the rules are in place for a number of reasons.

"Attracting predators for example, if they get out we don't have have an animal shelter prepared to take on chickens," said Hartig. "Ottawa's climate is not conducive to keeping a chicken coop in a back-yard somewhere."


The city has given a Constance Bay couple until Friday to find a home for their chickens. (CBC)

Former councillor says no political appetite for backyard chickens

Former Ottawa city councillor Alex Cullen said consituents in his former ward brought up the issue three years ago and he pushed for a motion to change the law, but he later withdrew the motion to give advocates for backyard chickens more time to make their case.

"This is the bureaucracy sticking to the tried and true plan that's been in place for a number of years. Unless there's some political direction, they're going to stick to the letter of the by-law," said Cullen.

He told Ottawa Morning's Robyn Bresnahan while there can be issues with odour and hygiene if the chickens are improperly cared for or in too small a space, he said the city should consider regulating the practice.

"The city can set down rules and say if you do this, this and this, then off you go," said Cullen.

Councillor Scott Moffatt — a member of Ottawa' agriculture and rural affairs committee — said he doesn't expect council to amend the by-laws in the near future.

Several farms have contacted the CBC with possible offers to adopt the chickens.