Toronto allowing backyard chickens in pilot program

Mar 20, 2018

A new pilot project for some neighborhoods in Toronto has some people clucking. The plan is to allow people in those areas to have chickens in their backyards for personal use.

Credit File photo

It’s a sound many residents of Toronto never expected to hear coming from their backyards, but that will soon change.
As part of a pilot project approved by city council, people in four neighborhoods will be allowed to keep a maximum of four chickens for each home, but no roosters. They must also register their with the city.

The project was designed to give people an alternative to eggs purchased in stores.

Several municipalities in Ontario already allow chickens to be kept in backyard coops. They include Kingston, Brampton, Caledon and Niagara Falls. But the approval didn’t come without a heated debate.  
"To have a few pets in your backyard with the added benefit of producing eggs,  there’s nothing wrong it from a public health perspective [or] from a nuisance perspective. They are as clean as cats and dogs," said councilor Joe Mihevic.
But that’s not the way councilor Paul Ainslee sees it.
"I haven’t had one positive response when I’ve talked with residents over my past three months in a variety of community events about backyard chickens and that stems from their concerns about salmonella poisoning, rats and mice and how that’s going impact their neighborhoods," Ainslee said.
Some councilors say they talked to people in other cities and none of the possible negative impacts have become issues.

Chickens would not be allowed in apartment buildings, condominiums or properties that don’t have enough backyard space. The pilot project will operate for the next three years and be reviewed after 18 months.