Chicken request going to Saskatoon city council

A Saskatoon woman wants to raise chickens in her backyard, but the mayor is balking at the idea.

A Saskatoon woman wants to raise chickens in her backyard, but the mayor is balking at the idea.

Retired librarian Debbie Johnston will be at Saskatoon city council on Monday asking for a change to the city's animal control bylaw, which prohibits raising chickens inside the city limits.

She wants permission to keep hens in her Willowgrove-area backyard so she can have some fresh eggs.

"I already have my chickens picked out," she said. "They are Silkies, they are beautiful chickens, they're more of a show chicken than your average farm chicken."

In a three-page letter to council, Johnston addresses potential issues like chickens flying the coop, noise, chicken droppings and abandoned birds.

Opening the door to chickens does not mean council also has to approve horses, pigs and cattle in the city limits, she said.

"Pigs in the city is one thing whereas, I mean, chickens. You have three or four little chickens running around," she said.

"The city allows pigeons, and I would think the city would have more problems with pigeons because a chicken's not going to fly out of my yard whereas a pigeon, that's what they're going to do."

Johnston suggests there should be no more than four chickens allowed to any one owner and only hens should be allowed.

Mayor Don Atchison says he's read Johnston's letter and appreciates the work she's put into the proposal. However, he's not agreeing urban chickens are a good idea.  "I just think that chickens belong in a rural setting, and if people want that... that's where they should be," Atchison said.

The proposal will likely be referred to the city's planning department, Atchison said.