Tag Archives: chickens

Chickens could be roosting in Saanich soon

Saanich may allow chickens on smaller lots — with conditions
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
By KIM WESTAD, Timescolonist

Chickens may be able to roost in Saanich but they will have to be registered and orderly about it.

A report going to council next week from staff recommends that keeping hens on smaller properties be allowed, as most residents who responded to an earlier survey wanted, but certain restrictions should apply.

Owners would have to register their flocks, up to a maximum of five hens, with the municipality.

At present, residents can keep 10 hens as long as the lot size is larger than 1,114.8 square metres. But that excludes the majority of lots in the urban containment boundary, where the average lot is about 905 square metres.

The report recommends up to five hens allowed on lots with an area no less than 560 square metres.

With increasing numbers of homeowners becoming more concerned about food security, it makes sense to reduce the lot size to allow more people to keep hens, said Coun. Dean Murdock. Several other municipalities in the region allow urban chickens, including Victoria, Esquimalt, View Royal and Oak Bay.

“It would bring our bylaw into harmony with neighbouring municipalities and help us move towards attaining food security and awareness about local food production,” Murdock said.

In the municipality’s survey, 444 respondents were in favour or reducing the lot size to allow hens, and 84 were opposed.

Saanich council will also deal with a variety of other animal bylaw recommendations next week, including rabbits and deer, and expanding when dogs can run on the beach.

“Passions can run high where animals are concerned and it is often difficult to find community consensus on what the problems are, where they started, and how they should be managed,” Carrie MacPhee, director of legislative services, said in the report.

Like Victoria, Saanich staff are recommending that the animal bylaw be amended to prohibit feeding of deer. Although it is difficult to know the actual number of deer in the region, Saanich seems to have among the most feasting on large suburban lots.

The report also recommends that Saanich reviews fence height regulations, and consult with residents to see if they are in favour of increasing the maximum height from 1.9 metres to 2.4 metres or higher to keep out deer.

Staff also recommend a ban on feeding rabbits in parks or public spaces, and on the sale or adoption of rabbits that have not been spayed or neutered. They suggest requiring rabbits on private property to be kept in secure, enclosed structures and owners prohibited from abandoning rabbits on private or public property.

The recommendations include dogs being allowed on Cordova Bay Beach until 9 a.m. from May to August.

Dogs should be prohibited on artificial turf fields because their digging causes too much damage, staff said.

The recommendations go to council on Tuesday.

Chickens come home to roost in Saanich

Saanich changes rules on chickens, deer, rabbits and dogs
By Kyle Slavin – Saanich News

“Dogs, deer, rabbits and chickens, oh my!”

That’s how Coun. Dean Murdock kicked off an animal-centric committee off the whole meeting Tuesday night.

Councillors unanimously supported bylaw amendments to allow dogs on Cordova Bay beach, rabbit populations kept in check and backyard chickens legal in many more homes. Council also agreed to a ban on feeding deer.

Murdock, who 18 months ago brought forward the motion to look at allowing backyard chickens, says he’s thrilled to see so much support for the issue.

“This moves us toward a direction of food security for Saanich residents,” he said. “It means we’re starting to recognize the regulatory changes that need to be made for people to start providing for themselves.”

Council supported the motion to allow up to five hens on a single-family property 6,000 Square-feet (557.4 square-metres) or larger. This will allow for more than 90 per cent of homes to keep chickens if they so choose.

The support brings Saanich in line with neighbouring municipalities like Oak Bay, Victoria and Esquimalt, which all allow backyard chickens.

“If this is acceptable in Oak Bay, surely it should be acceptable in Saanich,” Murdock said, adding the new rules will allow residents with chickens to move here from another jurisdiction.

Council also supported a number of bylaws to help curb the feral rabbit population in the municipality. The bylaws will prohibit the sale of unsterilized rabbits in pet stores, prohibit the feeding of rabbits in parks and public spaces, and prohibit the abandonment of rabbits on private or public property.

A bylaw banning the feeding of deer was also supported, and councillors recommended staff look at amending fence height restrictions.

As well, dogs will no longer be banned from Cordova Bay Beach from May through August. They will be allowed on the beach until 9 a.m. during those months.

Councillors agreed that an education process will be key to ensure the bylaws are understood by residents to create a “harmonious” animal-human relationship in the municipality.

Did you know?

Regardless of the bylaw amendments, residents of Broadmead are prohibited from keeping chickens in their yards. That’s because when the neighbourhood was developed roughly 30 years ago, a number of covenants were put in place for all residents, including prohibiting poultry, banning home-based businesses, restricting clotheslines and disallowing boats and RVs to be parked on a property.

Hens may be moving into the neighbourhood

Recommendation to amend a by-law restricting backyard chickens in urban settings in Saanich supported by council Tuesday
CFAX 1070

A recommendation to amend a by-law restricting keeping chickens in urban settings in Saanich was supported by a Special Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night.

Saanich Councillor Dean Murdock says the current by-law only allows for the keeping of chickens on lots of a minimum size of 12,000 square feet

“the recommendation from staff was to cut that number in half to 570 square metres, so this basically means that chickens would be allowed in the residential area which is consistent with what happens in Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt, and that recommendation was supported unanimously by Saanich Council”

Murdock says the next steps include amending the by-law which includes 4 readings. He says the public can still provide opinions on this issue if they wish to, in writing.

The keeping of chickens would be limited solely to the production of eggs, and roosters would not be allowed on properties

Saanich Chickens – Keeping the feathers from flying

Animal lovers thrilled by new Saanich bylaws
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
By Kim Westad, timescolonist

Saanich council had dogs, deer, rabbits and chickens on their agenda this week, with results that have thrilled animal lovers.

A special meeting was held solely to deal with proposed amendments to several animal bylaws. Politicians received hundreds of emails and letters, some from people who don’t even live in Canada, and residents packed council chambers for the lengthy meeting that saw all amendments unanimously approved.

“Talk about pets and … you will get passion,” Coun. Dean Murdock said Wednesday. “People were very thoughtful and articulate on their definite points of view, but the feathers didn’t fly.”

After hours of input and debate, those at Tuesday’s meeting gave Saanich’s director of legislative services, Carrie MacPhee, who had written the majority of animal reports and recommendations, a round of applause.

Once municipal staff amend the bylaws, Saanich residents will be:

— allowed to have five hens on property larger than 557 square metres;

— prohibited from feeding deer;

— prohibited from feeding rabbits in parks or public spaces, and prohibited from selling or adopting rabbits that haven’t been spayed or neutered;

— required to have rabbits on private property in secure, enclosed structures;

— prohibited from abandoning rabbits on private or public property;

— allowed to have dogs on Cordova Bay Beach until 9 a.m. from May to August.

The changes still have to be given a final reading by the council, but are expected to be in place by summer.

About 90 per cent of Saanich residents will now be allowed to have up to five hens. Saanich joins several other municipalities in the region that allow hens on urban lots, with some restrictions.

“This is a step towards food security in Saanich,” said Murdock, who brought forward the idea of allowing more urban chickens. More people are interested in food security and want the chance to be more self-sufficient by having hens for their eggs, he said.

Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Central Saanich all allow hens on smaller, residential-sized lots.

Current Saanich bylaws allow chickens on lots larger than 1,114.8 square metres, which exclude most urban lots. Municipal staff recommended it be amended to allow up to five hens — no roosters — on lots as small as 560 square metres. That would allow almost 89 per cent of homes in the municipality to have the birds if they wanted.

However, councillors heard from residents of a cul-de-sac whose lots were a tiny bit smaller, and who wanted to have the opportunity to have chickens, so it was reduced to allow five hens on lots 557 square metres or larger.

Feral and abandoned rabbits in the region have long been a problem. A regionwide approach is needed, said several councillors.

While SPCA spokeswoman Sarah Dubois applauded Saanich’s move to ban the sale of rabbits that have not been neutered nor spayed, she said it would be better to ban the sale of all rabbits.

“We have an ample supply at the SPCA to adopt for years to come,” she said.

Although most people spoke in favour of raising chickens, some warned about the smell and noise, and worried about liability if a dog was to kill a bird.

Municipal staff said if a dog kills a chicken on the dog owner’s property, the dog is not at risk of being declared a dangerous animal. However, that would change if it happened on public property.

Even though the vast majority of lots would allow chickens, it’s unlikely there will be a surge.

“While there is a lot of opportunity for people to have chickens, I think the uptake won’t be enormous,” said Coun. Susan Brice.