Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saanich moving forward on Urban Chickens

This run would be too large for Saanich in Option 4

Living in the City of Victoria and having a local by-law that makes keeping chickens easy to do, I have been watching the process in Saanich.    There is a report out now.

Up until now, you needed to have more than 1/4 acre of land to be allowed to keep chickens.   There are four options under consideration by the council.   The first is no change, and that seems to be off of the table.  The second is to only reduce the property size and make no other changes - the current set backs required are large enough to make keeping chickens not possible on smaller lots.   Option three is like option two only with smaller set backs.    Option 4 is the one with the most detail.

Option four has a lot more details and is the one I assume Saanich will pass.   Option four would seem to make keeping chickens for meat not an option as there is no slaughtering allowed onsite, I am not sure why not - actually they specifically ban meat birds in this option.  The maximum footprint of the run would be 99 square feet, which means the one I have would be too big.   Also, it would be allowed to be more than 2 metres tall, I think mine may be higher than that.   There is also a restriction from the run being in the front yard, I do not know why this restriction.   Mine is within five feet of a sidewalk.
Ben in May 2008 with a chicken

There is also a requirement to register your flock.

Option four adds too many rules for no good purpose.    Regulations only make sense if they are trying achieve some benefit, the ones put forward in option four has many that offer no obvious benefit.

It is great that Saanich is relaxing the rules, by why not just adopt the bylaw Victoria uses?   I am unaware of any problems from the Victoria bylaw, so why not just copy their bylaw?

I have been keeping chickens for three years now and they have been easy to deal with.   They cause less 'waste' problems than our dog does.  I get fresh eggs and decent manure for my garden.   It has also been a way to keep more food scraps out of the compost or garbage.

It is also a lesson for my kids about what it takes to get food and the difference between an egg we produce and one we buy in the store.   People are too disconnected with where their food comes from.   In my generation many people had parents that grown up on the farm so we had parents that were not so far from how food comes about.   My children are one step further.    Alienation from your food is ultimately bad for you on so many levels.

At the peak of production I was getting three dozen eggs a week.  This year I think it will be more like a dozen to 18 eggs a week.  It costs me about $15 a month to keep the birds so at six dozen in a month, it will cost me $2.50 a dozen for jumbo size eggs that are so fresh you easily whip the whites by hand.

If you want to see the chickens, just walk along the sidewalk on Harriett at Maddock, just stick your head over the fence.  I am happy to give you a guided tour
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