Nova Scotia

No chicken coops allowed in Halifax

A new staff report says laying hens should not be allowed in Halifax.

Chickens are back on the menu at Halifax City Hall—a new staff report says laying hens should not be allowed in Halifax.

People in the local food movement have been trying to change the rules for years.

HRM planners took another look over the winter.

But their latest findings are bad news for city chicken flocks.

They say while responsible hen owners would cause no problems, improper handling of feed can attract rats and there are even concerns about avian flu.

So the recommendation—no chicken coops for the city.

That's not going over well with poultry owner Fred Connors.

"I have eight chickens and two muscovy ducks—all eggs producing. I have a backyard ambience, it's attractive to all of my neighbours, we routinely have strangers appearing on our property because they are enchanted by the environment of an urban farm," said Connors.

Connors isn't alone. City staff surveyed people who came to a recent meeting on chicken issues.

86 per cent of them were in favour of allowing some egg-laying hens.

Connors said he's offered to do a pilot project for the city. He added he's willing to have a court settle the issue if that's what it takes.

"I just want to engage in activities that bring me some sort of joy and satisfaction, and I see keeping chickens in your backyard as being no more of a dangerous and unsightly activity as keeping a couple of dogs. Or cats."

The report goes to a planning advisory meeting on Monday.

But it's the Peninsula Community Council that has the final say on urban chickens.