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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm’s Elijah Lazar wins provincial wrestling title

Lazar overcomes Parmjot Sidhu from DW Poppy Secondary in the final on Feb. 17

Chase Heat in fine form as season winds down

The team’s first playoff opponents will be the 100 Mile House Wranglers.

Axe throwing, road hockey among Salmon Arm food drive festivities

Fill the Pantry event wraps up on Monday, Feb. 17 with day of activities. 600lbs of food collected.

Shuswap artists come into focus for upcoming exhibit

Salmon Arm Art Gallery presents 20/20, an open community exhibition

RCMP report woman arrested after ramming police cruiser

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Town of Osoyoos voices support for proposed casino

Osoyoos council voted to submit a letter of support for a proposed casino on OIB land

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Nanaimo man wins lotto, plans to buy $16,000 fridge

Curtis Wright a winner in Lotto 6/49 draw

Three protesters arrested after blocking driveway at premier’s home

Protestors claimed they would make a citizen’s arrest of the Premier, according to West Shore RCMP

Most Read