Thunder Bay·Superior Morning

Thunder Bay group hatching plan for backyard chickens

The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy is hoping that by this summer, backyard chickens will be allowed in the city.
The 'coop gallery' on The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy website shows what current unsanctioned urban chicken coops in Thunder Bay look like. (
The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy is hoping that by this summer, backyard chickens will be allowed in the city. 10:45

A community organization is hoping that by this summer, backyard chickens could be clucking away in Thunder Bay, Ont. neighbourhoods.

Currently, backyard chickens are only allowed in rural areas of the city, but the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy is hatching a plan to change the rules. The organization is currently seeking public input on a proposed bylaw change, which it hopes to bring before city council in the spring. 

Thunder Bay residents have been expressing interest in backyard chickens for some time, said Kendal Donahue, the coordinator of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy. 

"I think people are really becoming interested in having a stronger connection to their food source," she said. 
Kendal Donahue, the food strategy coordinator with EcoSuperior, says other cities have allowed urban chickens with success. (EcoSuperior)

The group is reaching out to the public through its website, where it's gathering feedback with an online survey. It's also posted a gallery of photos of backyard chicken coops which currently exist in the city, despite the bylaw.

"We wanted to give people examples of people who have chickens in the city already... just to give people a sense of what that looks like," said Donahue.

"Generally when people get chickens they put a lot of thought into it and they care for them quite well." 

The site also has information addressing common concerns about chickens, such as noise level — something that really isn't an issue if roosters are taken out of the equation, she said. 

"Chickens are ... way quieter than dogs," she said. "They come in at about 65 decibels where as dogs range way over 100." 

The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy is working on the plan in partnership with EcoSuperior, said Donahue, and they will host an open house to discuss the idea with the public in the spring. 

In April or May they hope to bring the proposed bylaw change before city council.

Food strategy coordinator Kendal Donahue says existing backyard chicken coops are usually well maintained, and well received by neighbours. (


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