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'Many benefits': Could chickens soon be allowed in Regina yards?

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Regina could soon be changing a bylaw that would allow residents to raise chickens in an urban setting.

Resident Dan Lindsey does not have any chickens in his yard right now, but he said he would if laws allowed it.

“Who doesn’t want a farm-fresh egg in the morning?” he said.

Regina city council will discuss the possibility of allowing backyard hens beginning in January.

It comes after Ward 8 Coun. Shanon Zachidnaik put forward a motion Wednesday, to create a pilot project of the idea.

Zachidnaik has worked with local advocacy groups to bring forward the pilot.

“There are many benefits to being able to produce your own food,” she said. “Food security, the emotional connection to animals and even education in participating in the process.”

The motion would have city administration bring forward a plan for a pilot project.

Zachidniak would like to see 20 coops of three to six hens be scattered throughout the city to test a proposed bylaw for two years.

At the end of the pilot, administration could continue, expand or scrap it.

There is just one exception.

“No roosters,” Zachidniak said. “Roosters are noisy while chickens are actually very quite. Much quieter than dogs.”

Lindsey is in full support of the city making the change.

“We don’t want people with chicken plants in their backyards,” he said. “But to raise some chickens for pets or eggs – there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Zachidniak said about 40 Canadian municipalities allow residents to raise chickens on their property.

One of those is Orillia, Ont.

They began a pilot project in 2017. In April, they expanded their program to allow all residents to raise chickens anywhere in the city.

“Things ran really smoothly,” said Orillia manager of legislative services Shawn Crawford.

Orillia does not allow hens to free range on properties nor the killing of hens on site.

The city also does not allow roosters.

However, the municipality of Chatam-Kent, Ont. went the opposite way. Denying a proposed bylaw citing concerns of disease.

“If droppings fall or get tracked into a pen, they can bring [disease] to the [chickens],” area-farmer Ed McKinlay said.

Lindsey does not believe that would be an issue in Regina.

“Those sorts of things happen in large industrial barns where the chickens are packed together,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll see that in mom and pop’s backyard.”

The pilot project will be debated at council on Jan. 31.

If approved, administration will bring forward a proposal back to council at a later date.

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