(© Can Stock Photo / alkerk)(© Can Stock Photo / alkerk)

UPDATE: CK Council unanimous in further studying backyard chickens

Chatham-Kent Council has unanimously approved the further study of backyard chickens in residential areas.

Council voted 17-0 to get feedback from all parties, including Pet And Wildlife Rescue in Chatham to possibly allow chickens in residential areas.

Five delegations appeared at the Monday night Council meeting to speak in favour of backyard hens, citing economic and ecological benefits along with mental health benefits. One delegation said chickens can act as emotional support animals, while two others said they could help with the rising cost of food by providing eggs and meat.

Councillor Anthony Ceccacci, who made the motion based on increased public interest, warned that changing the bylaw comes with a cost if it gets approval down the road. Councillor Steve Pinnsoneault said if an amended bylaw comes to fruition, it must guarantee no roosters. Councillor Amy Finn even suggested licencing chickens to be fair to dog owners who must pay for licencing their dogs.

All of it will be researched and a staff report should come before Council in May.


Previous story below from January 30, 2023:

The issue of backyard chickens is coming home to roost again in Chatham-Kent.

A community petition has been started in support of Blenheim Councillor Anthony Ceccacci's motion going before Council for discussion and a vote on February 6, 2023 asking for a survey to be conducted regarding backyard chickens. Ceccacci is also asking administration to research what surrounding communities are doing to allow chickens in backyards and would like feedback and recommendations from Chatham-Kent Public Health on the issue.

He said there's renewed interest in the community to have chickens in urban and rural residential areas.

The current bylaw prohibits the raising of chickens on any parcel of land that is not zoned agricultural.

Jane LaBute started the petition and told CK News Today she supports Ceccacci's motion, adding that even residential properties that are surrounded by farms are not protected by the current bylaw.

"There are many rural residents that currently raise chickens and could lose them if there is a complaint. I am aware of an issue in Shrewsbury and, in an effort to update the by-law for the whole of Chatham-Kent, I created a petition that encompasses the entire municipality," said LaBute. "Councillor Ceccacci's motion includes urban and rural residential areas, and I support urban chickens as well."

LaBute noted backyard chickens consume kitchen waste, create excellent compost, and eats bugs and small rodents. She continued that hens are quiet and properly cared for flocks that will not cause odour issues, adding that backyard chickens also align with many components of CK Plan 2035 and the Food Policy Council.

LaBute said she understands that only a limited number of hens would be permitted in all likelihood, if the bylaw was revised and crowing rooters would probably not be allowed in the larger urban settings, but hopes that rural residential areas might be given more flexibility.

Councillor Ceccacci is asking that the results of the survey and information on what surrounding municipalities are doing regarding chickens in urban areas be reported back to Council by May of 2023.

The petition can be found by clicking here.

Paper copies of the petition to support allowing urban and rural residential chickens can also be found at several locations across the municipality.

Two previous attempts in 2013 and 2020 to legalize backyard chickens in residential areas in Chatham-Kent have failed. Administrative reports have come back citing concerns about smell, noise, and an increased presence of rodents and permitting backyard chickens would open the door to other animals such as geese, pigs and goats, which are clearly an agricultural use.

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