Backyard hens are now permitted within the District of Sparwood. (File photo)

Backyard hens are now permitted within the District of Sparwood. (File photo)

Sparwood council approves backyard hens

Sparwood residents are now permitted to have five hens

The District of Sparwood has formally approved chickens within district limits, with councillors unanimously supporting changes to the animal control bylaw on November 2.

The approval comes after public engagement showed 65 percent of respondents supported allowing urban hens, following a request from a member of the public in April 20 for the district to consider the proposal.

Under the changes now approved, residents of the district can now keep up to five hens on their property if they first obtain a permit.

For a permit, residents will have to pay $30, have a site plan of the enclosure and coop dimensions, as well as written proof of support from neighbouring properties.

The district has specified that a chicken enclosure must include an electric fence that fully encloses a coop, in order to limit the risk of dangerous wildlife getting to them.

Speaking of wildlife, the bylaws go into detail on expectations for limiting wildlife attractants, with residents expected to keep all food sources for the hens secure, ensure the timely and appropriate removal of leftover food, and that enclosures and coops be well-constructed, maintained, and reasonably able to prevent wildlife entry and prevent rodents from taking residence.

The matter of bears was noted in the staff report, with the number of bear encounters currently high. Staff noted that allowing urban hens would “add another bear attractant to manage”, but during previous discussion councillors had been convinced that measures to manage attractants was enough.

Residents hoping to use chickens as a source of extra income will be limited to selling eggs: the bylaw forbids the sale of chicken meat or manure.

The new bylaws also bans residents from slaughtering or burying chickens on their property.

And just in case anyone wanted a real farmhouse experience: roosters are still banned.

READ MORE: Sparwood council leans towards allowing chickens