Following an in-depth review of citizens’ feedback on the matter, Innisfail Town Council on Monday, November 13, 2018, voted 5-2 against a motion to draft bylaw amendments permitting the keeping of urban chickens in Innisfail. As a result, the Town’s Animal Control Bylaw (1537-2012) will remain unchanged from its current state, outlining that “no person shall keep livestock [including chickens] in any area of the Town of Innisfail.”
A survey inviting input/feedback on Urban Chicken ownership was conducted between September 19 and October 17, 2018. A total of 627 responses were collected during the survey period.
This report was presented at the October 22 regular meeting of council.
What exactly are urban chickens?
In most cases, the term ‘urban chickens’ refers to the keeping of female chickens or ‘hens’ in an urban setting. People choose to keep chickens for a number of reasons — as pets, for pest control, and as a source of food, to name a few. Some municipalities have adapted to this practice by developing an urban chickens program.
Why is the Town considering allowing urban chickens?
The Town has heard both formally and informally from residents who both support and oppose the keeping of urban chickens in Innisfail. In order to obtain a more representative perspective, the Town, as part of an ongoing review of Animal Control Bylaw 1537-2012, is now engaging the community on the matter.
What might such an allowance look like?
Were the Town to develop an urban chickens program, it’s likely that some sort of licensing system would be implemented to help track where and by whom chickens were being kept. A maximum number of chickens per licensee and a number of other conditions (i.e., no roosters) would likely also be imposed. Such a program could be considered on a pilot or ‘trial’ basis.
How far along is the process?
No decision has been made either way on the matter, and the item remains very much in the information gathering stage. All feedback received will eventually be presented to Town Council, who will decide to either update or uphold the current bylaw.
Where can I learn more?
Prepared by the Poultry Research Centre and the Government of Alberta, ‘Raising Chickens in Alberta: A Guide for Small Flock Owners’ is a guide for both current and prospective chicken owners. The document provides an in-depth overview of the various tasks and responsibilities associated with chicken ownership.
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