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Backyard chicken owners can add another hen to their flock in Vernon

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
October 12, 2016 - 10:30 AM

VERNON - New rules mean more eggs in the backyard basket for Vernon chicken owners.

City council has increased the allowable flock size to four hens, up from three.

“I think four is reasonable in an average-sized city lot,” Coun. Juliette Cunningham said at a meeting yesterday, Oct. 11. “This is a good compromise for people who want to know where their eggs are coming from.”

The topic was sparked when a local resident applied to the city for an exception to the three hen limit. They wanted to have six chickens.

Coun. Catherine Lord noted the city wants to promote healthy, local food, and said that should be balanced with the need to keep noise and odour issues at a minimum.

“At six does it create a big disturbance?” Lord said.

Coun. Scott Anderson echoed Lord’s sentiments and questioned what the difference is between four or six hens. Roosters are not permitted on residential city lots.

Protective services manager Clint Kanester said the greater the flock size, the greater the possibility of odour, sound and mess concerns.

“There is some impact for sure,” Kanester said, adding six chickens could increase the amount of complaints received by bylaw.

He said four is fairly standard in other municipalities including Vancouver, where the flock size was limited in part due to concerns around the spread of avian flu.

Coun. Brian Quiring pointed out Vernon residents are allowed a maximum of three companion animals (such as dogs and cats) so four hens is reasonable.

Settling on a limit of four hens means the applicant who asked for six was denied. 

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