Cap on urban chickens raised in Red Deer

The 35 or so Red Deer residents on the waitlist for a chicken license can get cracking on their coops after council approved a limit increase.

Almost three years ago, the city approved a backyard chicken bylaw and regulated it through licenses. When it was first approved, the city set the limit at 65 licenses.

In the first few years, councillors say the only feed back they have received about the backyard chickens has been positive.

“As someone who opposed it the first time round,” said Coun. Tanya Handley. “The only feedback I’ve got is positive. I’ve changed my vote.”

Council voted unanimously in favour of increasing the city limit of chicken licenses to 100, paving the way for those on the waitlist to get their chickens.

According to a city report, since the start of the bylaw there have only been five complaints received. Those five were resolved by “educating the licensee further about the bylaw.”

Erin Stuart, development and licensing supervisor, advised council that her department is looking into creating one consolidated animal fees bylaw to bring together all licensing fees associated with dogs, cats and chickens.

Stuart told council that they had a turnover of about 30 or so licenses since the bylaw was enacted. She said that includes people who move within the city as they are required to reapply for a chicken license at a new address.

Other issues, such as wild animals killing the chickens, haven’t cropped up in Red Deer. Coun. Lynn Mulder said wild animals haven’t been the problem, instead it was dogs running loose who then killed or wounded chickens.

Councillors Paul Harris, Dianne Wyjntes and Mayor Tara Veer all expressed their support for the motion prior to voting on it.

“When we look back at how we developed and brought chickens to the community I think we led the way and we see other municipalities doing something similar,” said Wyntjes.

Backyard chicken licenses have been approved in neighbourhoods across the city.

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