A backyard chicken inspects food near its backyard coop behind a home in Fernwood. News file photo

BCSPCA’s proposed limits on chickens go too far: urban food advocate

Capping the number of hens at 12 an unnecessary solution, Aaren Topley tells Victoria council

Victoria council is still cluck-clucking about what to do about chickens in the city.

In a committee of the whole meeting Thursday morning, councillors heard the opinion of Aaren Topley, co-chair of the Victoria Urban Food Table. He was speaking in response to proposed changes to the BCSPCA animal responsibility bylaw recommendations that, in part, seek to limit the number of animals allowed on any one property.

The City of Victoria’s consideration of changes to its own animal control bylaw coincides with a neighbourhood dispute in the Rockland area, where a building owner wanted to bring in 99 chickens to help feed her tenants.

“However long we’ve had a council, we’ve never had a chicken bylaw. So for bylaws to be created because of one issue in 100 years … it’s a little bit ridiculous,” Topley said with a laugh.

He made four related recommendations for councillors to consider:

• A rejection of the newly proposed BCSPCA bylaws, with the exception that chicken food should be kept in secure storage, and that there is timely removal of debris, food and manure from the coop

• A rejection on a 12-hen limitation, saying it’s too restrictive and suggesting instead that an application process be put in place for people interested in owning 30 or more chickens.

• A rejection of the idea that chicken owners must live on the property, for instances such as shared chickens or school-raised chicks, and

• That more resources and information are provided to the public on the benefits of urban hens, and on good hen keeping practices.

Topley’s original proposal was to limit the number of chickens to 30 per property, but he conceded that 12 to 15 birds is probably a more reasonable amount for people to have without needing an application.

“We represent a lot of individuals interested in urban farming,” he said, “and the key message is about good chicken care practices.”

City staff are currently working on recommendations for proposed bylaw changes, a report on which is expected to come back to committee of the whole at a later date. 


ChickensCity of Victoriaurban chickensurban farm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price all summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Saanich police identify suspect in Brydon Park assault

No charges sworn, no arrest made as of July 9

Sooke Crisis Centre closes doors

Services previously offered to be dispersed throughout community support groups

Bacteria levels lead to swimming advisory at Saanich park

Craigflower-Kosapsum Park among regional beaches with swim advisories

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Most Read