Thunder Bay·Audio

Backyard chickens in Thunder Bay still a few months away

Urban chicken farmers in Thunder Bay will have to wait until the end of June before they can legally count their chickens in the coop.

Final report on urban chickens still two months away

Kendal Donahue (left), Thunder Bay's Food Strategy Coordinator, and Ellen Mortfield (right) of the Food Strategy made a presentation to Thunder Bay city council on Monday night. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
There may be at least 300 backyard chicken coops in the city. But that doesn't worry George Woods. He's all for urban backyard chickens. 4:34

Urban chicken farmers in Thunder Bay will have to wait until the end of June before they can legally count their chickens in the coop.

City council asked administration Monday night to prepare a report on how to ensure that chickens can be adopted into an urban setting, while still addressing noise and health concerns.

Coun. Rebecca Johnson wanted to have a report ready by the end of May.

"We know that the community would like to see this happen yesterday," she said.

"The further that we get farther from this, the further we're going to be delaying it to the community who is already involved in having chicken coops in their backyards." 

Representatives with Thunder Bay's Food Strategy told council that updating the city's regulations on urban chickens will bring many coop owners already in Thunder Bay into compliance.
George Woods made a presentation to Thunder Bay city council on Monday night supporting urban chickens. His presentation received a round of applause from supporters in the gallery. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

"A local feed store owner has told us that there are about 300 coops already within the City of Thunder Bay." said Ellen Mortfield.

"By-law officers have noted about two complaints a year." 

Mortfield said data collected by the food strategy shows there is a strong interest, and support, for urban chickens. She said council and administration will have to ensure it finds a balance between supporting chickens, and addressing concerns about noise, rodents and fecal matter.

Noise complaints unlikely, says supporter

The subject of urban chickens even brought out a supporter to council.

George Woods told council that any concern about noise from chickens is a moot point.

"I don't know of a policeman that would tell you that he's made a call because of somebody complaining about noise from a rooster," he said.

"But, he's got records of hundreds and hundreds of barking dogs that keep you awake all night, and music coming from the next door neighbours' backyard beer party."

"He's got a thousand of those calls."

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