Council can still reverse the recent planning committee decision to reject a pilot project for wards 1 and 2 to allow the ownership of a small number of backyard hens.
By Ryan McGreal
Published December 06, 2012
this article has been updated
At the December 4, 2012 planning committee meeting, councillors voted down a proposal to establish a pilot project in wards 1 and 2 that would allow the ownership of a small number of backyard hens.
That motion still needs to go to Council to be finalized, and there is still a chance for Council to reverse the planning committee's decision.
That means you still have time to send a letter of support for the backyard hen motion to be included in the correspondence for the December 12 Council meeting.
If you send a letter before 4:30 PM today (Thursday, December 6), it will be included in the printed council agenda. Otherwise, it will be added under changes to the agenda.
Here's my letter:
Dear Mayor and Members of Council,
On December 4, 2012, the planning committee voted against a pilot project in wards 1 and 2 that would allow residents to keep a small number of backyard hens, even though the evidence does not support the objections that were raised.
Quite simply, a bylaw that allows the responsible ownership of a small number of backyard hens poses no significant risk of harm. There is no good reason not to support this proposal - especially given that it is only a pilot for wards 1 and 2, and the councillors for those wards support it.
I ask council to reverse the decision of the planning committee and approve this pilot project. Then, if the negative outcomes that some councillors fear materialize, council will have a chance to evaluate the results of the pilot and decide accordingly.
Update: this article originally stated that the deadline for letters is Monday, December 11. However, as this comment points out, December 11 is not a Monday. The correct date is Tuesday, December 11. RTH regrets the error. You can jump to the changed paragraph.
By jbfink (registered) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 14:38:26
Here's my letter:
Mayor and Members of Council,
Ward 1 resident here. I'm in an apartment, no backyard, no real possibility of doing anything with backyard hens (even if I did, pretty sure wife would kibosh something fierce) but I still think it's a worthy pilot project to try out. I think interesting, weird little pilot projects are almost always worth trying out as long as they have their parameters fairly well established and there are metrics to gauge failure or success (in this case, probably complaints of noise or hen poop). So if there's a chance to give it a go despite the the planning committee turning it down earlier, I'm in favour of it. Thanks for considering.
By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 16:17:48
Hopefully they show some pluck!
By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2012 at 17:15:01
Now, I totally agree with RTH et al that backyard chickens should be legal. I'm on side here.
But am I the only one bewildered that this issue gets so much traction? I mean, chickens?
By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2012 at 19:43:49 in reply to Comment 83559
Its not about chickens. Its about people having the right to fresh eggs in their own back yard. Being able to produce some of our own foods from eggs to our own gardens. The work involved in raising the hens and maintaining their upkeep are good values to teach our children as well. They get to see first hand the work involved and where their food comes from.
I am not explaining it as well as Jeremy Compton and our urban chickens group but its about more than chickens bottom line.
Perhaps more so, its even about saying yes or no to things based on facts and heartfelt decisions and not fears and hyperboyle. The fact that other surrounding communities are doing it, just leaves the sense that this is really about laziness and ignorance, not about a health scare or noise complaints.
By Xklp (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 17:29:12 in reply to Comment 83559
It's the principle of the thing. I'd like to keep a couple of chickens and there's NO REASON I shouldn't be allowed to. And I resent suburban councilors who won't even be effected by it deciding I'm not allowed to. Or worse that they're not even going to bother spending time thinking about it. Bottom line you should be allowed to do something unless there's a good reason you can't, there's no good reason for chickens.
By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 22:35:57 in reply to Comment 83560
this is how the city is run these days. suburban councillors deny us a chance for safe, complete streets because their residents who all fill radio air-waves and letter-to-editor pages with their constant reminders that they 'never go downtown', wont let us get rid of our dangerous 5-lane freeways.
they won't allow residential care facilities in their suburban hoods, but will continue to pile them on top of each other downtown.
they'll spend tens of millions on roundabouts, highway interchanges and filling potholes, but argue for hours and kill previously approved budget items for a few hundred thousand dollars towards downtown grocery stores or Gore pedestrian projects.
they refuse to spend a dime for LRT because 'my residents won't benefit from it' (yea, increased development and taxes won't help their taxpayers. really bright) but they'll spend hundreds of millions on highways that downtown residents won't ever use....and billions more on sprawl around a pathetic, dead airport.
Give em credit - they're consistent.
Comment edited by jason on 2012-12-06 22:36:24
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 09:48:09 in reply to Comment 83570
Point well taken, but let's not forget that, by my count, "suburban" councillors can't do anything without the help of a mountain councillor or the Mayor, who lives in the lower city. From what I can see, mountain councillors have also abandoned the lower city when it counts, historically, on the issue of clean and quiet trolley buses and, more recently, on the issue of one-way streets.
By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 13:50:30 in reply to Comment 83587
Absolutely True! We remain a divided City.
By Mal (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 07:22:26 in reply to Comment 83570
"These days"? That upper-lower political divide predates amalgamation by many years if not decades, and municipal government's perfunctory or dismissive attitude toward citizens outside of an election season is even more deeply entrenched. Whether you feel the response was outrageous or outstanding, it remains to be said that these were entirely predictable responses.
By Leghorn (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 17:33:09
One person can make a difference.
By Leghorn (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 20:34:27 in reply to Comment 83562
BTW, please ignore the tendentious headline. Referring more to the closing paragraph and the way it demonstrates an individual's ability to shape public policy.
Haven't been able to find the story in question but did discover that the city's policy was apparently fitful at the outset:
Some topical vids:
By Centerline (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 19:25:08
All I know is I wouldn't want chickens,hens roosters or pigeons next door to me.
By Reason (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 14:02:14 in reply to Comment 83563
How about a noisy dog? These are legal. Why not chickens?
By Yes (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 14:16:46 in reply to Comment 83694
That's a rediculous comparison. Dogs are much noisier than chickens....
By NoChicken (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 09:46:24 in reply to Comment 83563
Not in my ward 2 either.
Chicken lovers = chicken soup/eggs lovers.
Chickens are dirty (poop every 5 min), have mites in their feathers and can spread salmonella.
We once cared for a pegeon who fell from his nest. Could hardly bear for 2 weeks until it started to fly.
You need to clean all the time. Still our balcony was a mess.
Want that for 1-2 eggs a day ? Disgusting.
By NoLogic (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 10:08:27 in reply to Comment 83586
Cats are dirty (poop several times a day in people's gardens), have fleas and ticks in their fur and can spread salmonellosis, bartonellosis, toxoplasmosis, tapeworms and roundworms.
Dogs are dirty (poo anywhere and owners often fail to pick it up), have fleas and ticks in their fur and can spread Leptospira, which causes kidney disease in humans, as well as hookworms, roundworms, giardia, cryptosporidium and other bacterial and viral infections.
CHICKENS ARE NO MORE DANGEROUS THAN OTHER SMALL ANIMALS THAT PEOPLE ARE ALREADY ALLOWED TO KEEP AS PETS.
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:55:33 in reply to Comment 83589
Just a point to make about Leptospira. It is usually considered a 'tropic disease'. The biggest factor in the spread is human activity, & it's enhancement of rodent populations. Large quantities of garbage in city dumps, outside restaurants, high rises, supermarkets, lack of basic sanitation, & any unsecured food waste can cause rodent populations to explode. Poor water sanitation systems are a major cause in 3rd. world countries.
However, it seldom if ever seen in North America. Most Ontario Vets will not include Lepto, Giardia,& Crypto. in the regular vaccination 'bundle' given to household pets (unless the owner specifically requests it)because these diseases have not been seen in S. Ontario in conjunction with household pets for over 40 years.
I think that some of your assertions are a bit overblown , but I'd agree about internal parasites. Wash your hands properly & frequently, & make sure that children do the same, whether in the park, the store, or most especially in the bathroom!!
Your chances of becoming ill from human sourced C.Diff. or E.coli are 1000's of times greater than from any of these bacterium.
Your chances of picking up Lepto. from the top of food & soda cans that rodents have urinated on is higher than picking it up from a family pet. The water supply esp. if you live on a tropical or sub-tropical region can be a threat for these & many other diseases.
By NoLogic (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 13:04:19 in reply to Comment 83683
No argument here. My whole point was that the claim of risk from chickens is overblown. Chickens are no more dangerous to public health than cats and dogs, and cats and dogs are not very dangerous to public health. You just have to be responsible. Same with chickens.
By NoLogic's an idiot (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 20:46:46 in reply to Comment 83589
>>ogs are dirty (poo anywhere and owners often fail to pick it up)
I love generalizing and painting everyone with the same brush!
In my neighbourhood, sadly, it's not unreasonable to take the dog out for a walk and see human stool on the ground, as well as urine and vomit. Let's ban all humans too!
By NoLogic (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 13:03:10 in reply to Comment 83643
By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 13:55:59 in reply to Comment 83589
So you say, "If i can't have my chickens, let's take everyone's right to have pets revoked?"
I'm supporting Your right to have backyard chickens, but you are denigrating me & other pet owners for having pets?
Your name is 100% correct! No Logic Indeed!
By NoLogic (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 20:30:34 in reply to Comment 83624
No denigration intended. I love pets, I have a dog and a cat myself. I don't think dogs and cats should be banned and I also don't think chickens should be banned. Chickens are no more dangerous than dogs and cats, which can be dangerous if you don't take proper care of them. That's the point I was trying to make to NoChicken who was saying things about chickens that are just as true about dogs and cats.
By NoChiken (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 11:22:06 in reply to Comment 83589
Cats and dogs are historical companions, pets, who live in the household. Like them or not, they are here already.
But you want to introduce a farm outside of your house.
You even shout already.
By sideline (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 19:32:25 in reply to Comment 83563
I don't want a barking dog next to me, but that's life in the city. Should we ban dogs because some people don't like them? I don't think so, and I don't like dogs.
By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 22:37:39 in reply to Comment 83564
sadly I have to agree....but boy, dogs are sooooo annoying. If any chicken can make more noise than a dog, it'll have one heck of a set of lungs.
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 14:15:20 in reply to Comment 83571
Again...Apples & oranges.
Let's get all fired up & get all none human life forms banned from Hamilton. I know of a few council members who would be more than glad to do that for you. SHEESH....
By wonderman (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 10:47:21 in reply to Comment 83571
The self-righteous are soooo annoying.
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 14:18:37 in reply to Comment 83615
And so are people who think only their own cause is just & only their viewpoint is correct..Kind'a Self Righteous, wouldn't you say? Just keep on slamming people who support you. See where it get's you.
By Dane (registered) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 20:18:58
What I think is a big issue is the disrespect shown to a citizen initiative. Couldn't they have let them present earlier? What burning issues couldn't be left till the end. Then Whitehead acting like a jackass. Sheesh.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 09:39:46 in reply to Comment 83567
When DOESN"T Whitehead act like a jackass? His phone was "ringing off the wall" AGAIN the other day. He must be on the same system as Rob Ford. Both of them are always getting "flooded" with calls. I think their formula goes something like this; 2 calls = a deluge, 3 calls = a flood and 4 calls = ringing off the wall. Oops, sorry, gotta go, my phone's ringing off the wall.
Comment edited by realfreeenterpriser on 2012-12-07 09:52:10
By Screencarp (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 01:52:39
I have chickens in my backyard (I live in a rural area). They belong to my landlord and next door neighbour. I can assure you they don't make a lot of noise or smell. There in no reason someone with a reasonable yard could not keep a couple of urban chickens.
By Reasonable Yard (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 20:48:28 in reply to Comment 83575
What's a reasonable yard size? Is it objective or subjective? Keep chickens in the rural areas. Period.
By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 07:33:46
Trust me i lived on a farm all my life down east coast .. if i wanted to raise chicken or pigs i whould live in the country like it should be city is not a place to raise ckickens it sticks ..and don`t tell me that cleaning there coop everry day is going to help .. ckickens are chickens
By chicken (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 07:43:59 in reply to Comment 83577
A house full of cats stinks. The ammonia from their urine stings your eyes and burns your throat. I used to live beside crazy cat house and I could smell it even with the doors and windows closed.
But a house with 1 or 2 cats does not stink. Clean the litter box regularly and there's no problem. It's the same with chickens. 2 thousand chickens in an industrial farm stinks. 2 chickens in the backyard does not stink.
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 14:20:46 in reply to Comment 83578
That's exactly my point, Mr. or Mizz chicken.
By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 09:22:41 in reply to Comment 83578
Now you tell me WHO will have 1 or 2 chickens .. maybe a hand full .. look more like 10 to 12
By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:09:40 in reply to Comment 83581
Well, if the pilot project bylaw says you're limited to a maximum of 3 chickens, having 10 would be a violation of the bylaw, and they could fine you and seize your chickens.
In theory, they should do the same thing if you have 10 cats...
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 14:22:41 in reply to Comment 83581
I dunno, maybe the people who re-cycle their garbage, drive the speed limit, & take care of their kids, & their pets? You know..Those 'weirdo-s'..
By chicken (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 09:31:47 in reply to Comment 83581
Here's an idea, see how it works in other cities. Guess what, it works just fine.
By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 11:18:52 in reply to Comment 83582
Please specify 'what other cities have backyard chickens' please?
By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 10:15:29 in reply to Comment 83582
Lol thats verry funny you should mentionne that ... do you know what city were are talking about here its Hamilton .. lol its not your ordinairy city pls
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 15:02:19 in reply to Comment 83590
No one ever asks it but, is the problem with the citizens, or with the people we seem to elect? Are Hamilton's so much dumber that citizens of other cities? Or is it just that we have been told that we are stupid & "Not ready to handle that type of responsibility," so many times that we have begun to believe it? (If not about ourselves, then about 'all those other people'?)
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2012 at 16:28:55 in reply to Comment 83590
Ah, the old "but this is hamilton" argument.
We can't have anything here other than surface parking and highways because nothing that works in any other city will ever work here!
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 14:28:26 in reply to Comment 83603
And so we will remain -a relic!
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 09:22:12
Unfortunately, this all boils down to the fact that by-laws/restrictions are usually framed to address the irresponsible idiots in our society who don't realize that the "peaceful enjoyment of property" is about everybody not just them and who make their neighbours' lives miserable. Most people are reluctant to complain about their neighbours and by-law enforcement in Hamilton is selective at best and always after-the-fact. I haven't read up on the specifics of the proposed pilot project but I'm all in favour of allowing a FEW HENS in backyards for the property owner's consumption but I'm opposed to roosters, too many hens and the marketing of eggs to the public. I fear that this will be ruined by the likes of those who maintain that there's no reason they can't keep 28 cats in their house and whose dogs never bark. Good luck.
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 14:31:24 in reply to Comment 83580
I agree! We have laws against barking dogs & more than 4 pets/household, but we don't have any willingness to try something new. Every time Hamilton gets an opportunity to try new thing, it's too 'Chicken'.
By Realpolitik (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 10:17:18
If logic and reason were the only barriers to policy shift, Hamilton would run like a Swiss timepiece.
By Urban Chicken (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2012 at 13:33:51
As an urban chicken, I think everyone is missing the point that this is just a pilot project or a test project (if that makes it easier to comprehend), which means there is no guaranteed commitment to move forward.
The whole point of the test project is to find out if concerns about my presence in urban Hamilton are real or imaginary, and I find it disheartening that Council finds the idea of testing out a simple project frightening.
I have been talking to other fellow chickens and they're excited about coming to Hamilton, even if it is just wards 1 and 2. All I'm saying is give me a chance. Even if you only look at this in a political perspective, you win, simply by giving me a chance to prove myself. Whether I turn out to be a nuisance or not, doesn't matter.
I won't be a nuisance, I promise.
By NoChicken (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2012 at 20:29:45 in reply to Comment 83599
It's not you. You are pretty and naive.
It's your urban owner, who needs your eggs and your drumsticks.
Do you think he/she can afford to bring you to the vet when you need, or protect you from predators ?
Better go to Ottawa experimental farm.
By Urban Chicken (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 13:05:01 in reply to Comment 83661
Even a chicken like myself knows that name calling doesn't bring anything to a meaningful conversation, but I cluck and digress.
Just like any pet owner, not just a chicken owner, they should be responsible enough to know what the cost of taking care of me might be before attempting to own me. And, like any pet owner, they may overlook this, which would be unfortunate for me, but just me.
As for predators, unless squirrels are carnivores or raccoons are crazy enough to try and take me on, rather than just eating some perfectly fine garbage, I think I have nothing to worry about. If your thinking coyotes, you won't find any in dense urban areas.
Like I said before, this is just a pilot project, not a forever project. If you're nicer to me, I might talk my future owner into letting you try some of my eggs :)
By Tyson (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 08:11:16
Call in the fixer?
By Clucked (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 12:33:39
Even though it is covered earlier in posts. Why can't I have a goat?
By D. Shields (registered) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 14:40:42 in reply to Comment 83617
I don't know. It seems reasonable to me. Goats provide milk, cheese, butter, ice cream. They really don't make any noise to speak of. They don't bite people, or scratch. They require little food, & carry less diseases in their milk that cows. They don't produce a lot of smelly poop, & it comes in small easily composted capsules.
Is this our next topic? :D
By Reprise (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 17:43:05
By Incorrect date in article (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 20:44:36
December 11 is a Tuesday, not a Monday. Which is correct - Tuesday the 11th or Monday the 10th?
By beesplease (registered) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 22:05:44
Pilot project? Who doesn't know some old guy on the Mountain with chickens in the back shed?
By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:03:21
Resident of Ward 7 here, I just wrote my letter in favour of the pilot project.
With a little luck, someday I'll be able to legally have two hens in my backyard.
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