The new backyard chicken coordinator starts his post at the renovated Vancouver City Hall
Mayor Gregor Robertson’s dream of having a chicken in every backyard in Vancouver is one step closer to reality now that City Hall has released their draft guidelines on how to raise hens. They reference a number of items including everything from preventing Avian Flu to how tall your chicken manure piles can be before an inspector comes a knocking.
According to the draft guidelines, the structures housing the hens can be built up to 10 feet high. This is about 4 feet higher than most back yard fences. They must also be at least 10 feet from any dwelling, and should be set back at least 60 feet from the street.
If you plan on setting up your own mini chicken farm, be warned that the city is restricting you to only four hens. City officials estimate this will allow you to produce about 20 eggs a week, more than what they think the average household needs to survive. They are also clear about the fact they are prohibiting commercial production (phew).
As far as disposal of the dead carcasses goes, city officials state:
Slaughtering of hens by untrained individuals can result in undue suffering, and may be offensive to neighbours. Options include taking hens to a farm or abattoir for slaughter, or to a veterinarian for euthanization.
If you think Vancouver’s new urban chicken farmers will have it easy, think again. Here is another excerpt from the draft guidelines:
A person who keeps a hen must give the hen food, water, shelter, adequate light and ventilation, veterinary care, and opportunities for essential behaviours such as scratching, dust-bathing, and roosting, sufficient to maintain the hen in good health.
Why is it that my poodle is suddenly looking a lot more appealing?
In order to minimize the threat of a widespread Avian Flu outbreak in Vancouver, city officials have also outlined a series of measures that hen owners must obey. The guidelines state:
Biosecurity procedures, as recommended by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
(CFIA), shall be followed. These include:
Preventing contact with wild birds and other animals
Cleaning enclosures and equipment routinely and thoroughly
Cleaning clothes, hands, and footwear before and after handling birds
Spotting the signs of disease and reporting disease early
Limiting visitor access to birds
Requiring visitors to practice biosecurity measures
Segregating new hens for at least 30 days
Segregating hens that have been at shows for at least two weeks
Obtaining hens from reputable suppliers
If either you support or have concerns about the current set of draft guidelines, now is your time to be heard. You can forward your comments/suggestions to email@example.com. By the way, there was no mention in the guidelines as to how these new rules will be enforced or what will resources it will take to do so.