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In response to enquiries received, County Council is requesting feedback from residents and/or property owners within County Hamlets or Rural Residential Subdivisions regarding the issue of keeping chickens in residential areas. The County’s current animal control bylaw restricts that activity.

Before Council formally considers whether or not changes that would provide for keeping chickens within residential areas should be implemented, Council has requested that feedback be received from those that may be directly affected.

Your feedback can be submitted by either

 

Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

Appreciation is expressed for the time and consideration given to providing your input on this issue.


Public Interest Information on Keeping Chickens:

Current situation within the County. – Keeping chickens and other animals within residential areas of the County is regulated through the County’s Animal Control Bylaw (No. 1720-11). The bylaw currently prohibits keeping chickens on residential parcels that are less than one (1) acre (.4047 hectares) in size.

Recent developments in other jurisdictions. – A number of urban municipalities within Alberta (including Edmonton, Red Deer and Okotoks), have approved bylaws that provide for keeping chickens in urban residential areas under strict conditions. A number of larger municipalities in other provinces have also approved bylaws that allow this practice under strict conditions.

Locations other than small parcel Residential Land Use Districts. - No restrictions apply for keeping chickens within the County’s agricultural land use district. The current bylaw also allows for a limited number of chickens to be kept in residential areas where the parcel size is larger than one acre.

Chicken Production Related Information – An online search will generate an abundance of information sources that should provide answers for most questions that may arise pertaining to back yard chicken production.   Information regarding basic questions is summarized below. Individuals that have additional questions are encouraged to undertake further research in order to make an informed decision regarding their position on this issue.

How many chickens are required to fill the need for eggs? A healthy hen can lay up to one egg a day during peak periods, but they are not able to sustain that production over an entire year. Egg production is often reduced significantly or stops all together during the winter months. The number of eggs produced over the life of a hen is influenced by several factors that include age, feed, and light conditions. Nesting boxes should be provided as a location for hens to lay their eggs.

Reproduction Information: Hens can produce eggs without a rooster being present. Roosters are required if the intent is to incubate and hatch eggs to produce chicks.

What is the life span of a healthy chicken? Sources state the life span of a healthy chicken is 8 – 10 yrs.

At what age do chickens begin laying eggs? A chicken reaches maturity and can start laying eggs around 20 weeks (5 months).

Acquiring and caring for chickens: Baby chicks can be ordered through retail farm supply centers. Owners must be ready to care for them as soon as they are shipped to the retail location. The care and inputs required during the early life stage is higher than the care required for mature chickens. Feed requirements vary with age and range from starter ration to various food sources that mature chickens can digest. Chickens should be kept within a secure and sheltered enclosure to protect them from predators, and severe weather conditions. Dead chickens cannot be disposed of with household garbage so owners need to be prepared to dispose of them in the same manner as other deceased pets.