Allow Small Flocks of Backyard Chickens in Haldimand County

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When one conjures images of Haldimand County, they often will picture wide open spaces and farmers fields. An oasis outside of the hustle and bustle of city life.

We recently moved to Kohler from Hamilton. An opportunity to escape the crowded streets and enjoy the serene rural escape that Cayuga has to offer.

As part of this rural lifestyle, we were planning on purchasing three or four chickens for our backyard to produce eggs for our consumption. These chickens would be kept fully contained in a fenced in area, with no roosters present.

We were surprised to find out that chickens are banned under Haldimand County Bylaw No. 1396/13, unless we are living on a property zoned as rural or agricultural.

Our property backs on to a large field of wheat, and there are several farms within a kilometre of our house that raise cows and sheep. I was shocked to be informed by the county that we are not designated as a rural property, despite there being cows and sheep within walking distance of our house!

Backyard chickens provide their owners with a self-sustainable supply of eggs. Furthermore, chickens can be fed table scraps, which alleviates the strain on the municipal waste system.

Small flocks of up to 5 birds should be permitted in such a rural setting.

There are various urban municipalities that allow or are in the process of allowing backyard chickens. The City of Waterloo has recently allowed the practice. The City of Toronto has begun a three-year pilot program to test the impact.

Yet, in a rural area like Haldimand, this practice is not allowed.

I encourage the current council (and future council to be elected in 2018) to consider the rights of property owners on this matter. As taxpayers, we are told far too often what we are not allowed to do.

 In an era of waste reduction and self-sustainability, I would imagine that any municipality would be glad to adopt such a measure and reduce the restrictions on local homeowners.