Dear Town Council,
My family and I have had the pleasure of calling Vegreville home since 2013, and we have fallen in love with small town life in rural Alberta. However, I am shocked to learn that backyard chickens are not allowed here, while they are in larger centers like Edmonton.
Given the rising cost of groceries, interest in urban farming is rising. I understand the concerns surrounding backyard chickens have been mitigated through rigorous pilot programs since 2012 in various Alberta communities and the kinks worked out. Rules surrounding backyard chickens vary in each municipality but a limit of 3-6 birds, no roosters seem reasonable with licensing requirements and development permits required for back yard coops. Even education courses and mentorships are required in some municipalities.
Currently a few of the communities that allow urban chicken flocks included Edmonton, Red, Deer, Airdrie, Cold Lake, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert, Fairview and even Mundare. It should be noted that while Calgary voted down legalizing urban chickens, it is expected that there are at least 300 underground chicken coops and they are currently revisiting their stance.
CBC stated, “many Canadians view a backyard chicken like a sourdough starter – good to have during a pandemic”. Chickens have been revered by humans since 5400 BC and are no longer just for the farm.
The benefits of backyard chickens:
-they have more nutritious eggs than commercial factory farmed eggs, studies show.
-they reduce household waste by eating food scrapes.
-they provide great fertilizer once their droppings are composted.
-they provide pest control by eating slugs, ticks, mosquitos, and ants.
-they are a great way for children to learn firsthand about where their food comes from.
-They provide positive mental health benefits.
-they will require licenses and coop development permits providing additional revenue to the town.
I have started a Facebook group called Vegreville Backyard Hens, and been in contact with other groups who have successfully implemented backyard hen programs in their communities and also started an online petition.
I understand this issue has been previously discussed by town council and after speaking with many members of the community I know there is a lot of interest in backyard hens in Vegreville. My goal is to open the discussion about urban chickens once again so to understand what the concerns of council are and help work through them because so many other communities are successfully keeping backyard Hens, why can't we?
I am appealing to the Vegreville Town Council to allow backyard Hens in Vegreville, after all Vegreville is the town with the big egg.