Chatham-Kent moving forward with pilot project for backyard chickens

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is moving forward with a pilot project, which will allow backyard chickens in certain parts of the Municipality.

After a lengthy discussion, and several friendly amendments, a motion by South Kent Councillor Ryan Doyle was approved by Council.

Doyle moved option number two in a staff report, to launch a pilot project for rural and village residential properties in Chatham-Kent.

Doyle also successfully moved a list of considerations for staff when they create the by-law associated with the pilot, which included:

– Chickens must stay on your own property. If you do not have a fence around your property, you must keep them in a chicken coop.

– No roosters.

– Require a minimum set back from your property lines, or from neighbouring homes buildings. The coop needs to be located with set backs from the property lines depending on the side of the yard.

– Feed must be stored in a rodent proof container.

– Only a one time application and fee. The fee helps cover some of the costs. Before someone is allowed to have chickens, they would apply with the application, if their property is approved for one (based on the criteria we use), they are then able to set up their coop. Before they are able to have chickens, a by-law officer goes to inspect the yard and coop. If it passes inspection, they are good to get the chickens. After that, the only time we would visit the property again is if their is a by-law complaint about the property.

– A limit for chickens (that might depend on lot size) or how the property is zoned.

– Demerit points

A motion by North Kent Councillor Rhonda Jubenville to include residential properties over one-acre in the pilot was voted down by Council.

A report from staff did not recommend moving forward with the pilot, instead they suggested remaining with the status quo.

“Concerns remain that a backyard chicken program, whether permanent or pilot, may have a negative impact on communities by intensifying issues of concern to residents, such as pests (mice, rats, cats) or an increase in wildlife concerns arising from the attraction of skunks, raccoons, and predatory wildlife including foxes and coyotes,” said Nancy Havens, manager of licensing services, said in a staff report.

“Additional concerns have been raised as it pertains to other household pets such as dogs. The Protection of Livestock and Poultry from Dogs Act states that the Municipality is responsible to pay the owners of chickens killed/injured by dogs, and recoup the costs from the dog owners, if known.

Havens added: “Administration acknowledges Chatham-Kent Public Health’s concerns about significant risks of diseases that backyard chickens pose. There are nine cases in Canada of Avian Flu, five of these are in non-commercial locations. On January 30, 2024, there was a case in Amherstburg on a commercial property. Most recently Avian Flu has been discovered in cows in nine states in the United States. While various options are available, administration is of the opinion that Option 1 Maintain Status Quo is the most viable option.”

Read the full report, here.

- Advertisment -