Lydia (left), 8 and Lyanca, 6, Wright, with chickens Luffy and Fluffy. - Contributed

Lake Country family sad they can’t keep their pet chickens

The district doesn’t allow chickens in urban residential zones

A Lake Country woman just wants her daughters to keep their pet chickens.

Maggie Wright, a resident in the Sunburn Hill area, decided to take two chickens from her daughters’ Elementary school classroom last May as pets when they were given away at the end of a class project.

The Wrights kept the chickens in a hen house and even picked up two others from a farm in Kelowna’s Black Mountain area, who were older and didn’t lay many eggs.

When doing her research for chicken keeping, Wright said she couldn’t find any bylaws in Lake Country about urban chickens, but Vernon allows up to a maximum of four. Kelowna allows up to 10 chickens in residential urban areas if the lot is a half acre, or larger, in size.

John Mellow, with the district’s bylaw services, said a procedure is followed prior to a ticket being issued.

First, the resident is informed of the infraction and given two weeks to remove the chickens from the property. A letter is also sent to the resident with the bylaw.

If the resident fails to comply, they are given a ticket for $100. Normally he gets between three to four complaints a year about residential chickens.

Director of community services Mark Koch said council had discussed it previously as a way to prevent farm animals in residential zones, but the bylaw can always be amended.

It would have to go through four readings and a public hearing in order for it to be amended.

Mayor James Baker said the bylaw could definitely be updated to include backyard chickens. While he said chickens are benign, roosters could pose a problem.

The District of Coldstream is also in the middle of processing a bylaw which, if approved by council, will allow up to four hens in a minimum of an 836-square-foot property.

RELATED: Letter: Eggs fine, but what about the chickens?

“We never (sold) anything, my kids just have them as a pet,” Wright said.

She said the chickens are kept inside at night on their three-acre property. When the family noticed one of the chicks grew into a rooster, she planned to give it away. They keep the rooster inside so he’s quiet, she said.

Wright was “quite surprised” when they were visited by a bylaw officer who said they can’t keep chickens on their property, even if they are kept in the house. According to Lake Country’s bylaws, chickens are currently not allowed in urban residential zones, but do allow them on rural residential properties.

“We don’t understand (the) issue,” she said. “I hope that we can keep the hens, we definitely will get rid of the rooster.”

RELATED: What makes chickens happy? University of Guelph researchers try to find out

She also received a letter from the district’s bylaw officer and decided to keep them at a friend’s farm until the issue is sorted out as she doesn’t want a fine.

Her two daughters, Lydia, 8 and Lyanca, 6, love their chickens, she said.

“The children cried the whole night (when they were given to the farm),” Wright said, adding they are pets and part of the family.

Wright took to a Lake Country Moms Facebook page where she shared what she received from the district.

When Lake Country resident Tara Shoemaker shared her post in a common Lake Country page, it gathered more than 70 comments, mostly in support of urban chickens.

Raising a number of chickens herself, Shoemaker said “I’m in 1,000 per cent support for people having chickens.”

“I think everyone should be able to have them. People should be able to have at least five,” she said. “They’re great for a million reasons, they’re so good for the environment,” adding that having backyard chickens allows residents to collect their own eggs and create their own compost.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Western Canada’s only Military Tattoo returns to Vernon

The 6th annual tattoo is slated to take place July 27-28 at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.

Athletes helping athletes

While the Vernon Christian basketball team have their own games to play this weekend, they took time out of practice Tuesday to volunteer.

JUNO nominated band visits Vernon and Penticton

Tim and The Glory Boys will perform in Vernon March 9.

Special Olympic B.C. Winter Games continue in Vernon

Events conclude today. Check out what’s happening.

Nearly 200 new businesses for Greater Vernon in 2018: Chamber

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce says nearly 200 new businesses in 2018

Athletes hit the slopes for the final day of SOBC

The awards ceremony for all alpine skiing events took place this afternoon at the SilverStar Village Podium.

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

One of B.C.’s newest citizens reflects on the value of immigration

“People who come by choice to another country will do everything to contribute to that country.”

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Team BC sitting 4th at Canada Winter Games after 1st week

Team BC ringette featuring Kelowna’s Brooklyn Keller finished 4th

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Most Read