Nova Scotia

Backyard chicken rules proposed for Halifax

The idea of allowing Halifax residents to raise a few chickens in their backyards may be coming back to roost.

The idea of allowing Halifax residents to raise a few chickens in their backyards may be coming back to roost.

The Peninsula community council will discuss making it legal to keep chickens in the city at its meeting Monday night.

Connaught-Quinpool Coun. Jennifer Watts said last week that she would like to see a few chicken coops around the city. She said people should be allowed to keep three to six hens, but no roosters would be allowed in city limits.

Last year, when a couple of urban farmers tried to keep some laying hens to have fresh eggs, it raised so many hackles that the chickens were literally run out of town.

In February 2008, Louise Hanavan of Halifax took her three chickens — named Captain Crochet, Bernadette and Chicken — to a Hants County farm after a neighbour complained they were attracting rats. The city ruled that Hanavan was breaking a zoning bylaw that states fowl are not allowed in an R-2 zone.

Cities such as Victoria, Seattle and New York do allow people to have a few chickens in their backyards, Watts said.

'Embarrassing' attention

Halifax businessman Fred Connors visited an urban farm in San Francisco, and is completely on board with allowing chickens in the city.

"I think when city councillors have a look at what is happening in the rest of the world, the fact this discussion is gathering so much attention, I find embarrassing," he said.

Connors raises chickens in the country, and he believes people have a need and a right to raise their own food.

"I am now preparing to move into the city and the chickens will be coming with me. I am fully aware that there are bylaws that prohibit one's ability to raise chickens within the city. I am not planning on making a big deal about it. I am just planning on peacefully raising my chickens in my backyard," Connors said.

Watts said the Peninsula community council, made up of four councillors, has the right to pass an urban chicken law without going to the full city council for approval.