Rural areas hatch request

Regional district considers allowing chickens in residential yards

Rural residents may soon have the same ability as urban counterparts to keep chickens.

The Regional District of North Okanagan is reviewing its zoning bylaws to see if properties in the residential and small holding zones in the five electoral areas can raise chickens as a source of food.

“You can have chickens in Vernon and Vancouver but you can’t have them in rural Enderby,” said director Jackie Pearase.

Presently, RDNO bylaws only allow chickens on parcels one hectare or larger, which rules out residential lots.

Pearase admits she was surprised to learn about the rules as her rural Enderby constituency is agricultural in nature and some residents may be keeping chickens without knowing they are breaking the law.

“People want food sustainability but we have a bylaw against it.”

As part of the process, the district will consider  how many chickens may be allowed on a property and whether roosters should be banned because of crowing.

“We will take a look at what other communities have done and see what fits in our areas,” said Greg Routley, deputy planning manager.

Pearase is looking to balance the needs of people wanting chickens and those living next door.

“You can have chickens but it doesn’t have to irritate the neighbours,” she said.