By Laura Stovel
The results are in. When The Current posted a survey asking readers’ opinions about backyard chickens in residential areas or Revelstoke, 84 people responded – only four of whom said they currently have backyard chickens. Most of those who responded to the six questions we asked also took the time to explain their answers. In fact, there were We thought we would share the outcomes with you.
While the survey, Friends with Benefits or a Fowl Problem, is by no means a scientific poll (meaning it was not weighted for age, gender or income level), the results show that there is considerable interest in legalizing backyard chickens in downtown Revelstoke but some people also have concerns about neighbours not caring for their chickens properly which would lead to a bad smell and could attract bears and other wildlife.
When asked if backyard chickens should be allowed in residential parts of Revelstoke, 85% of 79 respondents said they should be allowed. A similar percentage said they would be happy (64%) or would be willing to tolerate (20%) the situation if their neighbour kept backyard chickens. Comments emphasized the environmental benefits of producing local food, the educational value of raising chickens , the value of chickens as pets, the benefits of chicken manure in compost, and readers’ desire to eat organic eggs at an affordable cost. As one respondent wrote, “It is important for the future of food security and conservation that people have an intimate understanding of their food sources. Food doesn’t come from the grocery store.”
Those who opposed legalizing backyard chickens were concerned about people not caring for their chickens properly, resulting in bad smells that would attract bears. One reader wrote, “Very hard to regulate. If people like farm eggs, they are available. Don’t open this can of worms! We have enough problems with people not cleaning up after their dogs and cats.”
Indeed, like this respondent, several readers on both sides of the issue compared raising chickens to having cats and dogs. Some proponents of backyard chickens felt that chickens are no different from other domestic animals that need to be cared for properly.
Some of the more interesting comments came from people who had raised backyard chickens or who had neighbours with chickens. One reader wrote, “My neighbour has chickens and I have no problems or complaints about it. It is nice to have farm fresh eggs close to home.” Another wrote, “Having raised chickens myself in the past, I understand both the benefits and the possible problems involved. The benefits outweigh the problems by far. Raising one’s own food is a rewarding experience, economical and a way to teach children about nature, economics, responsibility and self-sufficiency.”
When asked if they would consider having chickens in residential areas if they were legal, 52% of 84 respondents said they would and 15% said ‘maybe.’ Several respondents indicated that they would be interested as long as they could be sure that they could have the time and space to care for them properly. Two respondents said they would like to get chickens regardless if they are legal and one said he or she would like to share the chickens with a neighbour.
Which raises the point: Revelstoke has community gardens, could we have community chickens?
Here are the results of our little survey:
|1. Should backyard chickens be allowed in residential parts of Revelstoke (79 respondents)||Yes|
|2. If one of your neighbours began to keep backyard chickens would you be: (84 respondents)||Happy|
|3. If backyard chickens were legal would you consider having some? (84 respondents)||Yes|
|4. Do you maintain chickens in your backyard now? (84 respondents)||No|
|5. If yes, why do you keep chickens? (9 responses)||For eggs|
|To control food options|
|To save money|
|6. Do your neighbours know you have chickens? (56 repondents)||Don’t know/ NA|