Backyard chickens allowed in Whitehorse

City council in Whitehorse has passed a new bylaw allowing residents to own up to six chickens and house them in their backyards.

Residents can own up to six hens, but roosters banned

Whitehorse city council passed the bylaw, but residents can only have up to six hens. They are also not allowed roosters, and 60 per cent of a person's neighbour must approve. (istockphoto)

City council in Whitehorse has passed a new bylaw allowing chickens in backyards.

Residents can now have up to six hens, but roosters are banned. Before residents can have chickens in their yards, 60 per cent of their neighbours must agree.

Kristina Calhoun has been pushing for the bylaw ever since last year when city bylaw officers discovered her hen operation. She was forced to give them up at the time.

Now, Calhoun says with support from her neighbours, she is ready to start again.

"This neighbour went to City Hall with me to fight on my behalf and this neighbour wrote a letter to the editor to fight on my behalf and these neighbours were over every day brining compost for the chickens," she said.

She said it’s about time Whitehorse got on board with the trend.

"Every other major city is doing it to some level or another. I'm just really glad that we're finally, that's one step and we're finally getting closer. It is heavy-handed, it is over regulated, but at least they're allowed now."

Concerns about predators

Donna Lilya sells baby chicks at C + D Feeds. She said she has already noticed an increased interest, but she has some concerns.

"We do have a lot of predators up here. You've got fox and coyote that you see all the time, neighbours’ dogs are going to be a problem. I think a lot is going to come down to how they are housed and, you know, how safe it is and how often they get loose," Lilya said.

Calhoun said predators are in every neighbourhood, and a free-range chicken in the Yukon is a dead chicken.

"Fence them appropriately, put a fence over top, all the way around, and make sure that they can't get in and then the chickens will be safe and the predators will be safe," said Calhoun.

Calhoun said her order for new chicks is on its way.