LANCASTER, Ontario – South Glengarry Council heard a pitch from Julie Hehir to amend the zoning by-law that prohibits the keeping of chickens in residential backyards at their meeting on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.
Hehir and her husband live in South Lancaster with their three children, and five chickens that live in their backyard.
“I got the chickens as our pets and they supply us with eggs. They are friendly and cuddly. My children love to feed them. We have no rooster as to keep the noise level down. The children have the responsibility of collecting the eggs every day,” she explained to Council.
Hehir also pointed out that the chickens help with her home-grown vegetable garden and also help to fight pests such as ticks.
“I like to grow all my vegetables for the winter. I can preserve as much as I can to get us through winter without purchasing,” she said. “I did notice an increase in insects last year and my yield was not what it could have been. I thought to myself and realized that my best option was to get eating machines (chickens). This summer they ate the pests. I think they could do better if I was able to let them free range but I will concede to just keep them in a pen. Chickens eat ticks. With the rise of the tick population in the area, chickens are warranted.”
When asked for his views on the matter, Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden said that he was in favour of the idea of allowing backyard chickens in residential areas, if it were properly executed.
“I think with the proper parameters, I’m okay with it,” Warden said. “I’ve seen it permitted in areas more urban than ours, but there have to be guidelines. We don’t want someone to have 50 chickens in their backyard.”
Warden suggested starting with a pilot project, perhaps in South Lancaster itself, to see how an amended by-law would work in practice.
South Stormont recently held an open house over the same subject in their own municipality.
South Glengarry Council received the presentation from Hehir, and administration would return to Council with a report at a later date.