Backyard chickens in Sidney lays an egg

Town council rejected the idea and doesn’t expect to hear much clucking about it

Citing only a single proponent in favour of allowing chickens in people’s backyards in Sidney — and many more opposing it — town council on Monday rejected the idea and doesn’t expect to hear much clucking about it.

The only holdout in a 5-1 vote to not change the Town’s animal license and control bylaw and allow chickens, was Councillor Melissa Hailey. She said she felt having a couple of hens in the backyard isn’t as strewn with trouble as a staff report stated there might be with the plan.

Director of development services, Marlaina Elliott penned the report, outlining the issue that was raised by a Sidney resident in April, 2012. The plan would have been to change the Town’s bylaw to allow people to raise chickens on their property for eggs and food.

The report states more than a dozen other people approached council and the municipality after the idea became public, voicing opposition. Most concerns had to do with smell, animal waste, noise and escaped or released chickens running loose.

“There were no residents who came into Town hall that indicated support for allowing chickens in residential areas,” stated the report.

It also outlined other issues in the wake of the relatively recent phenomenon of urban chickens, from size of coops and humane treatment, to the abandonment of the birds once they stop producing eggs.

Those issues, paired with the close proximity of small farms and local eggs on the Saanich Peninsula, led to staff’s recommendation that Sidney not allow backyard poultry.

A majority of Town council agreed with that assessment.