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

Salmon Arm inventor creates rooftop sprinklers to protect from wildfires

The Water Winger can be placed at the peak of a roof without climbing a ladder

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun makes way for rain clouds

Environment Canada is forecasting a mixed bag of conditions

CSRD Board backs more consultation on plans to help caribou

It is feared that the caribou recovery plans could result in closure of backcountry areas

Update: RCMP confirm body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Maxime Bernier, leader of People’s Party of Canada, to rally support in Kelowna

The PPC has 36,000 member and plans to run candidates in all 338 ridings

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Big Sugar headlines Gonzo Okanagan tournament and festival

The second annual event will take place June 14

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Video: South Okanagan business owner distraught over thefts

Video shows two suspects enter the Penticton store

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

Kelowna History: Street name origins

Have you ever wondered who the streets were named after?

RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd. opens fifth kitchen

The Okanagan Table will offer space for events and catering

Most Read