Three of Greg Neiman’s backyard hens emerge from their coop Friday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer looks at offering more urban chicken licences

Chicken Bylaw returns to council

More backyard chickens could soon call Red Deer home if city council decides on Monday to allow more residents to have a chicken licence.

Council will consider an amendment to increase the cap on annual chicken licences to 100 from 67.

Currently the Chicken Bylaw allows for one licence per 1,500 residents. The amendment would allow one licence per 1,000.

City administration says demand for licences continues to increase annually. A year ago 12 people were on the wait list for a licence and now there are 35.

Greg Neiman, a member of the Red Deer chapter of Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK), said he was glad the city was looking at more licences because people will really enjoy having chickens.

“They’re interesting. They’re curious. And they really do teach children about being responsible for animals,” said Neiman whose grandchildren have really taken a shine to his chickens.

“They are an animal that children can take care of, and gather the eggs, chase them back when they get out. And the chickens really do listen to the kids. When the kids are here they come running because they know they’ll get a treat.”

He said his grandchildren discovered chickens really like the saskatoon berries that grow in his yard. They eat them right out of their hands.

“The children found out you can tame a chicken with saskatoons really easily,” said Neiman who was part of the city’s urban chicken pilot project that started in 2013.

Joanne Cundict, whose family was also part of the pilot and still has chickens, said they are quiet, easy to take care of and good egg producers.

“We’ve had a great experience with them. We’ve enjoyed having them,” said Cundict whose children have also benefited by learning how to take care of their chickens.

And there’s been no complaints from the neighbours, she said.

“We have a neighbour up the street that brings his grandkids over to see them,” Cundict said.

In 2014, city council approved a Chicken Bylaw to allow licencees to keep a maximum of four urban chickens for personal use. No roosters are allowed.

Residents must provide and maintain a chicken coop, and cannot sell eggs, manure, meat or other hen related products or slaughter hens on the property. At all times hens must be kept inside a coop with a fully enclosed weather-proof structure and outdoor enclosure.

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