Kelowna, don't be a chicken and change the bylaw to allow urban hens

Kelowna, don't be a chicken and change the bylaw to allow urban hens

April 7, 2021
Signatures: 2,099Next Goal: 2,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Gaetan Benoit

Many communities across North America and British Columbia (BC) have recognized the increased interest, popularity, and benefit of keeping backyard chickens or urban hens (City of Vancouver, n.d., 2010; Pollock et al., 2012; Schindler, 2012). However, in Kelowna BC, current city bylaws prohibit urban hens for residents with lot sizes under half an acre (City of Kelowna, 1982-2012). This is startling and unjust, particularly when the benefits of keeping chickens in urban areas are well-known (City of Vancouver, n.d., 2010; Schindler, 2012).

Benefits of keeping backyard chickens are plentiful and include improved food safety and security, reduced carbon footprint through waste reduction and decreased greenhouse gas emissions related to food transportation, improved psychological health through the human-animal bond, enhanced community connectedness and belonging, and presenting learning opportunities and a sense of responsibility for individuals of all ages (City of Vancouver, 2010; Gilligan & Downes, 2021; Pollock et al., 2012; Schindler, 2012).

 Although the benefits related to keeping urban hens are well known, some municipalities have expressed concerns over possible nuisances, which may include excessive noise or odors (Pollock et al., 2012). However, the vocalizations of hens have been found to register at 63 dBA (decibels-A level), which is comparable to the average speaking voice of 60 dBA (as cited by City of Vancouver, 2010). Barking dogs may register in excess of 100 dBA (Coppola et al., 2006). In any case, restricting the number of allowable hens and prohibiting roosters are considered effective strategies in managing noise-related nuisance concerns (Pollock et al., 2012). With regards to concerns surrounding odors, well-maintained coops and a restriction on keeping excessive amounts of chicken manure on the property are considered effective odor management strategies (City of Vancouver, 2010; Pollock et al., 2012).

Many cities in BC have amended their bylaws to allow urban hens, including Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops, and Vernon (City of Kamloops, n.d., 1981-2016; City of Vancouver, 2010; City of Vernon, 2010-2019, 2016; City of Victoria, 2015). It is startling that the Kelowna Animal and Poultry Regulation and Animal Pound Bylaw (City of Kelowna, 1982-2012) is so restrictive towards hens for a city that claims to care about:

·       [Allowing] residents to meet basic needs for food, shelter, education, work, income, recreation and safe living and working conditions;

·       Is equitable;

·       Maintains or enhances the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the population;

·       Preserves our cultural and biological heritage, thus strengthening our sense of connectedness to our history and physical environment (City of Kelowna, 2013, p. 3)

Please sign this petition in support of an amendment to the Kelowna bylaw restrictions related to backyard chickens, in favor of permitting a small number of hens only, such as has been established in Vancouver and other cities. Kelowna is a wonderful place to live and is a city committed to healthy living, community engagement, social sustainability, and reducing the impacts of climate change (City of Kelowna, 2013, 2016, 2018). The proposed change would align with the city’s goals of not only creating healthy food systems and promoting social connections and physical activity (City of Kelowna, 2016), but would reflect the democratic processes of the city and its commitment to sustainability and reduced environmental impacts (City of Kelowna, 2018).


City of Kamloops. (n.d.). Urban hens.

City of Kamloops. (1981-2016). Animal control bylaw no. 34-11.

City of Kelowna. (1982-2012). Animal and poultry regulation and animal pound bylaw: Bylaw no. 5421.

City of Kelowna. (2013). Chapter 10: Social sustainability (Kelowna 2030 - Official Community Plan).

City of Kelowna. (2016). Community for all: Kelowna’s all ages & abilities action plan.

City of Kelowna. (2018). Our Kelowna as we take action: Kelowna’s community climate action plan.

City of Vancouver. (n.d.). Learn the rules for backyard chickens, and register your chickens with the city.

City of Vancouver. (2010). Guidelines for keeping of backyard hens.

City of Vernon. (2010-2019). Animal regulation and animal pound bylaw #5252.

City of Vernon. (2016). City bylaw amendments allow mini pigs, hens on residential properties.

City of Victoria. (2015). Animal control bylaw no. 11-044.

Coppola, C. L., Enns, R. M., & Grandin, T. (2006). Noise in the animal shelter environment: Building design and the effects of daily noise exposure. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 9(1), 1–7.

Gilligan, C., & Downes, P. (2021). Reconfiguring relational space: A qualitative study of the benefits of caring for hens for the socio-emotional development of 5 – 9-year-old children in an urban junior school context of high socio-economic exclusion. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 0(0), 1–17.

Pollock, S. L., Stephen, C., Skuridina, N., & Kosatsky, T. (2012). Raising chickens in city backyards: The public health role. Journal of Community Health, 37(3), 734–742.

Schindler, S. B. (2012). Of backyard chickens and front yard gardens: The conflict between local governments and locavores. Tulane Law Review, 87(2), 231–296.




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Signatures: 2,099Next Goal: 2,500
Support now