Victorians do it. New Yorkers do it. Seattleites do it. Will Vancouver be the next city to allow chickens to roost in its backyards?
Tomorrow (January 14), the Vancouver Food Policy Council will consider a motion to recommend changes to the city’s animal control bylaws that would make it legal for residents to keep chickens.
The motion will be introduced by Trish Kelly, the council’s cochair, a food activist, and the coeditor of the lesbian erotica collection With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn.
A move to legalize backyard coops is in line with the City of Vancouver’s commitments to sustainability, community development, and food security, according to the motion.
I have had two experiences with urban chickens.
This morning (January 13), I was walking past Hastings and Jackson, when a massive truck carrying chickens in open cages drove by on its way to United Poultry Company Ltd. While the factory at 534 East Cordova is generally pretty good at keeping the stink down—all things considered—the morning live chicken delivery can be nauseous. Today was no exception. The smell was like a fog.
I witness this delivery almost every day. These birds smell and appear very different from the shiny-feathered hens at UBC Farm. Surely, backyard-grown chickens would resemble the ones in Point Grey, rather than the ones travelling by truck?
The other experience was a neighbour in a small town who illegally kept chickens in a coop out back of her house. Keep in mind, she was crazy. The coop reeked; the chickens smelled and appeared no more appetizing than the ones I witness on the Hastings truck each morning.
Undoubtedly, Vancouver already has some illegally kept chickens. An official backyard-friendly policy would help promote best practices and keep the stink zones at bay.