News / Edmonton

Backyard chicken battle not over

While the city shot down a pilot for urban chickens last summer, some residents with ruffled feathers over the prospect of waiting at least another year are keeping them anyway.

Laura, a volunteer from River City Chickens Collective, who did not want her last name used, said the group had proposed a pilot project with backyard chickens.

She said health benefits are just one of the many upsides to having chickens.

“It's also good for children to experience the understanding that chickens aren't just slabs of meat that come on a styrofoam tray,” Laura said.

Laura said some residents are already starting to keep urban poultry despite the ban. Ryan Pleckaitis with the city's complaints and investigations department, said the group was told in July 2010 that the pilot was stalled.

“There was support from that group because they did understand this was something the city was looking at,” Pleckaitis said. “And the direction of the city was moving towards to make allowances ... for backyard poultry.”

The city is contemplating downsides to keeping urban chickens, such as an increase of noise and predatory animals.

But Laura said the collective is upset about not being kept in the loop when the proposal was denied.

“They didn't communicate that to us very well,” Laura said. “We didn't think it had been rejected until just a few months ago.”

Pleckaitis says the city is awaiting an urban agricultural strategy report, expected in fall 2012, before moving forward with the pilot.

More on