Pitt Meadows to try backyard hens for one year

Council approved recommendations to allow hens in urban areas but are concerned about rodents.

Pitt Meadows to allow backyard hens for one year.

Pitt Meadows to allow backyard hens for one year.

Hens will be allowed in residential backyards in Pitt Meadows for a one-year trial period that begins now.

Council approved recommendations to allow hens in urban areas at a regular meeting Tuesday. They did, however, stress that those who decide to have them should be well informed.

Coun. Janice Elkerton said a comprehensive information package should be provided to those who take part in the program.

“I want to make sure there’s a lot of information out there,” she added.

Mayor Deb Walters indicated she looks forward to seeing the report following a one-year trial as many factors need to be considered when allowing hens in urban areas including the possibility of attracting predators and rodents.

“I do worry about the rodents in urban areas,” Walters said.

Previously, Pitt Meadows residents had been surveyed about the idea. Of the 105 individual survey results council reviewed at a meeting Tuesday, 83 said yes to the question: “In general, do you support the keeping of backyard hens on single-family residential properties?”

Respondents were more divided about the question what the acceptable minimum lot size for the keeping of hens should be. The majority, 36 per cent of respondents, said no minimum, 27 per cent said at least 557 square metres, 19 per cent thought 650 square metres and 18 per cent said 743 square metres.

And in response to the number of hens individuals should be allowed, the majority of respondents, 48 per cent, said five, less than one-third said four and 23 per cent of respondents said three.

Cities that currently allow backyard hens include: Vancouver, Victoria, Saanich, North Vancouver, New Westmisnter, Vernon, Oak Bay and Colwood. Maple Ridge is one of five provincial municipalities that does not allow them.

Two years ago, Pitt Meadows resident Wendy Rairdan asked council to allow hens in backyards as it would represent a significant step toward sustainable living and give residents access to an inexpensive and healthy source of organic food.