Backyard chicken plan fails to fly at council
Chickens won’t be coming to Orangeville’s backyards to roost.
Although Sara Clarke presented council with a petition requesting backyard hens be allowed within the town on Monday (April 22), her request garnered little discussion.
Coun. Sylvia Bradley tabled a motion requesting staff investigate the pros and cons of backyard hens.
The councillor said before moving to Orangeville, she had kept a coop.
“They did not cause anybody a problem,” Bradley said.
However, her motion gained little interest from her fellow councillors.
“This really bothers me. No where has it been mentioned what public health has to say,” said Coun. Gail Campbell.
Before council could address the idea, Alison Brownrigg asked if there is a petition against the notion of allowing backyard hens.
“We are concerned about the noise, the smell and the waste,” Brownrigg said.
She added the coops would require a significant amount of backyard space.
“They do need to have some type of legroom to run around, which is a very big enclosure in a backyard,” Brownrigg said.
Clarke told council hens would generate significantly less waste than a dog.
“I totally understand there are concerns in the community,” Clarke said.
Few municipalities in Ontario permit chicken coops in residential areas. Guelph, Brampton and Niagara Falls are among the few exceptions. Last July, Shelburne also denied a request for permitting backyard hens.
Clarke suggested several regulations should accompany allowing hens, including a five-chicken maximum and a minimum 30-foot buffer zone from neighbours’ homes.
“I do think it’s important regulations are in place,” Clarke said.“I don’t think it should be a free for all.”
According to Clarke, chickens provide their keeper with fresh eggs and rich fertilizer, while eating insects and table scraps. She said they also present an opportunity to eat local products and avoid high eggs prices.
“I want to know where my food is grown,” Clarke said.
Paul Korsten also vouched for backyard hens. He told council about visiting his grandfather’s home in Holland, who kept seven chickens.
“This can be done,” Korsten said.
However, he told council that hens, like any domesticated animal, must be kept clean to avoid foul odour.
“It wasn’t obnoxious. Anything that produces waste has to be kept clean,” Korsten said.“We all have to look after our dogs and cats.”
Hens, unlike the rooster, create minimal amounts of noise, Korsten said.
“They only cackle for about a minute when they’re actually laying,” he said.
“For the rest of the time their gentle cooing is quite relaxing