Backyard hens allowed in Champlain Township

by Christopher Smith - EAP
Backyard hens allowed in Champlain Township
Champlain Township will now allow property owners to keep up to four hens in a backyard coop. (Photo : Pexels)

Champlain Township council passed a bylaw allowing homeowners to keep hens in their backyards.

The last public consultation report on the backyard hen program was reviewed during the regular meeting of Champlain Township council September 28. According to Jennifer Laforest of the Planning Department, many people are interested in the outcome of the backyard hen consultation, and a few changes were made to the final version of the bylaw based on feedback from residents.

The restriction on the number of licenses based on location was removed, and the pilot project guidelines amended to require a fence around the coop. Councillor Paul Burroughs of Longueuil had some concerns about the fencing issue, arguing that on larger rural plots of more than one acre, fencing in the coop may not be needed.

“We’re talking about chickens, but we’ve got wild turkeys and birds landing from all over the place,” Burroughs said. “I understand (fencing) within the villages and subdivisions, but for me and others who have birds roaming all over the place on the property, I just don’t see the need within my ward.”

“If I understand this correctly, you’re looking at giving a little bit more leeway to the people that live outside the subdivisions,” said Gerry Miner, councillor for West Hawkesbury. “But sometimes they’re very close to it. If I have a three-acre lot that abuts subdivision, I’m a neighbor there.”

“This is a pilot program we’re trying to test to see how the program works before we do something longer term,” said Laforest. “According to the regulations we’ve proposed, the chickens are required to be in the coop and the fence is required to screen the coop. Maybe start on the conservative side at an acre and if they’re minor accessories that nobody sees and we don’t get too many complaints, then we could reduce that over time.”

The bylaw was amended to not require fencing on properties larger than one acre. Council also clarified that the township will have the power to revoke licences if the chickens are not getting proper care.

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