RMWB One Step Closer To Backyard Hen Pilot Project

You soon may be able to raise hens in your backyard.

Wood Buffalo council met on Tuesday where they approved having administration develop a potential pilot project.

All the details are already completed after the idea was brought forward by former Councillor Tyran Ault several years earlier.

The project, as it stands, would include a maximum of four hens and a minimum of two as they’ve been known to be highly social.

Councillor Verna Murphy, who brought the motion forward, says this could help quite a few people during this pandemic.

“Even just having a sustainable food source that you know is a healthy egg coming, people get excited about that stuff right now during the pandemic. It’s a mental health issue that if we can make people happy with chickens why aren’t we at least just gonna look at it.”

Not everyone was for the project.

Council heard from some residents about potential concerns with the noise level topping the list. Currently, the project wouldn’t include any roosters which are responsible for most of the noise in any chicken coops.

“For two chickens, the average decibels are like 45 but for an average size dog it’s like 90 decibels for them when they’re barking and if anybody has ever heard a cat in the heat it doesn’t matter where on the street, you’re gonna hear it,” added Murphy.

Speaking on Fort McMurray Matters, Mayor Don Scott noted he has an issue with the timing.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic, we’ve just recovered from a flood, and we’re in the middle of an economic downturn and this is the last thing on the planet I think we should be focused on.”

However, Murphy notes demand is up across the province as more communities start their own hen projects and residents should be able to apply to receive hens as quickly as possible.

Before this happens, council still needs to finalize a bylaw for the project.

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