The City of Charlottetown says it has no problem with backyard chickens, as long as there are no complaints.
A flock of a dozen birds in Lewis Point Park recently came to council's attention. Angela Biggley told CBC News Wednesday she never kept chickens before, but she and her husband wanted to try it because they're increasingly concerned about what they're eating.
What others have done
There has been an active debate over urban chickens across the continent in recent years. Here is what some other municpalities are doing:
- Summerside, P.E.I., allowed some birds to stay in city limits on a property that wasn't zoned residential.
- Halifax forced three hens to a local farm.
- Vancouver is working to legislate hobby hens.
- Calgary is facing a lobby from enthusiasts.
- Chicago banned the birds after hundreds of complaints.
"That was something we could do to improve the quality of our food," said Biggley, whose home is in the northwest of the city.
"We know how happy our chickens are, our hens. We know what they eat and how they are kept and so we know the quality of the eggs we are getting from them is superb."
Biggley cleans out the chicken coop every day. They're fed and watered and supervised when they're outside their enclosure. They are even held and petted.
"We're trying to teach our children we are responsible for them in the way you are responsible for a dog or a cat, but they're different in that they're our hens. They produce food for us, and sometimes roosters become food for us."
City bylaws do not allow livestock to be kept within city limits, but Mayor Clifford Lee said council is not worried about the Biggley chickens.
"As far as I know this is the first case in the city of Charlottetown and we are simply sitting back watching how — we'll call it an experiment — goes for the time being," said Lee.
Lee said the city might have to act if it was a commercial operation, or if there were complaints from neighbours. None of the neighbours CBC News talked to has a problem with the hens.
"Having a few chickens two doors away from me doesn't bother me at all," said neighbour Lorne Lea.