Back yard chickens proposed for only large lots. (THE NEWS/files)

Large lots only proposed for Maple Ridge back yard hens

Staff suggest pilot program at first

Maple Ridge council is looking a pilot program that would allow the keeping of backyard chickens, but only on large lots in the rural areas.

A report compiled June 11 following public consultation last year suggests that people be allowed to keep a maximum of four, and a minimum of two hens. The hens would have to be at least four months old, while no crowing roosters would be allowed.

When it comes to the type of chicken coops, the enclosures would have to be at least two metres in height with a total maximum floor area of 9.2 square metres or 100 sq. ft.

The chicken coop would also have to be able to be closed at night to keep out coyotes and cougars and would have to be surrounded by electric fencing.

Chicken coops would have to be located at the back of property with shelter from the elements with the animals provided adequate food, water shelter, ventilation, light and veterinary care.

Manure would be expected to be kept on site and used as compost or otherwise legally disposed of by the resident.

However, staff are taking a cautious approach as to where chickens would be allowed and are suggesting that initially, chickens would only be allowed on lots between 1,200 sq. metres and 2,000 sq. m., (13,000 to 21,500 sq. ft.) or up to three-quarters of an acre.

That would mean people who live on smaller properties in Albion, Silver Valley or Hammond would not be allowed to keep backyard chickens, unless council decided later to reduce the lot sizes required to keep the fowl. Staff also suggest that a two-year pilot program could be introduced, allowing 20 residences, on large lots, between 1,200 and 2,000 sq. m, to keep chickens on a trial basis.

Consultation took place in 2018 with more than 900 people completing the backyard hen survey.

Council will consider the report at its Tuesday workshop for forwarding to its committee meeting.

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