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District of Kitimat moving forward with pilot project for backyard hens

The District of Kitimat is fine tuning the regulations of a 15-month pilot project that will allow backyard hens in residential zones. The project, which has been under contemplation since a 2020 proposal by Kitimat resident Vanessa Combden, was further scrutinized at the Oct 30 special council meeting where elected officials weighed the project’s merits and risks.

A lengthy staff report underscored the potential upsides, such as bolstered food security and the mental and physical health benefits of producing one’s own food. However, it also addressed concerns about health risks associated with avian diseases, the attraction of predators and rodents, and the potential nuisances of noise and odor.

The draft regulations aim to mitigate these risks by drawing from the bylaws and experiences of other municipalities, and consultations with humane societies, veterinary hospitals and BC Conservation. The standards also adhere to the National Farm Animal Care Council’s code of practices, which stipulates standards for hen housing, care, and hygiene.

The project will prohibit the slaughtering of hens on residential properties.

A final draft of the regulations is expected to be presented to council by Feb. 1 for approval, at which time details of the application and monitoring processes will be made clear.

About the Author: Quinn Bender

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