Time for chickens

Time for chickens Open letter to Dave Stockdale, his fellow city councillors and Mayor Bev Buckway: The 2010 Whitehorse Official Community Plan was adopted by city council on October 12, 2010. This plan was given accolades and awards for its focus on sus

Open letter to Dave Stockdale, his fellow city councillors and Mayor Bev Buckway:

The 2010 Whitehorse Official Community Plan was adopted by city council on October 12, 2010.

This plan was given accolades and awards for its focus on sustainable community development.

One of the many initiatives to achieve this honour focused on sustainable food production through the use of community gardens and other “non-soil-based agriculture such as backyard chickens.”

If our civic leaders are to feel deserving of these accolades, they must first follow through with the initiatives and start changing outdated city bylaws. More than 300 cities in North America, including Vancouver and New York, have amended their bylaws to allow urban chickens. In our neck of the woods, Anchorage is currently working on a land-use revision that will allow up to five hens in lots of 6,000 square feet, or less, and more in larger lots. As of 2010, an ordinance passed in Juneau allowed up to six hens in most land use zones in the city and borough of Juneau. Reasons for not changing our bylaws are probably a lack of understanding, so here are some facts for you to ponder.

Chickens (hens) are quiet; roosters are noisy. Most city bylaws in cities throughout North America allow for up to six hens, but don’t allow roosters.

Aside from the occasional cooing and clucking, the noise issue is a moot point. Dogs bark at night way after dark at times, yet hens don’t make a peep after the sun goes down.

The amount of chicken manure produced by six hens is roughly equivalent to the dog droppings produced by a medium-large dog. And, unlike dog or cat poop, chicken manure can be easily composted into fabulous garden fertilizer.

Most backyard chicken enthusiasts recognize this benefit and ensure their coops and runs are cleaned on a regular basis and composted for their gardens. This produces wonderful yields for growing vegetables, which, in turn, makes our city even more sustainable.

Hens produce about one egg a day if the amount of light is between 16 and 18 hours a day Ð easily obtained by a lightbulb on a timer.

This amounts to 30 dozen a year. At $5/dozen for free range eggs, that’s a savings of $150/year. With four chickens, $600 a year.

Our family currently consumes about four eggs per day. That is significant for us. Combine this with savings from growing our own vegetables and it’s a no-brainer.

The fear that our neighbourhoods would be overrun with chickens, or would attract unwanted wildlife is unfounded. Backyard chicken enthusiasts understand the work and investment involved in making their coops and runs safe from predators.

Although there are savings, there is a significant initial investment and upkeep that would dissuade all but the most enthusiastic lovers of chickens.

Chickens do bring out the best in us. Caring for an animal is therapeutic and enjoyable. My daughter thoroughly enjoys feeding them and finding their eggs in the coop Ð Easter all year round. They really do have personalities and are a joy to watch from our deck.

Unfortunately, all these benefits are coming to an end due to one complaint.

We are in violation of a bylaw, but I would ask city council to move forward and act on the changes announced in their much-applauded OCP.

We would be willing to take part in a pilot program if the city needs more research on the subject.

Ralph, Joie and Erin McBryan


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read