Council approves chicken pilot project Features, News, Politics

Free-range meat chickens seeking shade

By: Ed Hitchins

Having a chicken in your backyard in Toronto is now no longer considered fowl play.

City council, by a vote of 23-14 has approved a pilot project entitling residents in four wards to house chickens in residential areas.

The experiment is expected to last three years starting at the end of the month and will take place in wards 5, 13, 21 and 32. It also prohibits chickens from being housed in any property without sufficient residential space.

There will be a review in about 18 months.


That’s not to say everybody was rustling their feathers in approval about it.

Ward 7 Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who abstained on the vote suggested that the initiative was ludicrous.

“What the flock is going on at City Hall?,” Mammoliti said before votes were tallied “My parks are a mess, my roads are a mess. I can’t get staff out to do anything. But here we like to squawk like the chickens we’re talking about.  I’m going to fly the coop on this vote.”

Ward 35 Councillor Michelle Holland also expressed concerns regarding price.

“We have more pressing issues. It costs 40 dollars a dozen for chickens,” Holland said during debate “there’s a reason why people don’t house chickens in their backyard … cost. This is a hobbyist issue and it’s insane”.

Nevertheless, Toronto is going ahead in removing chickens from its restricted animals list following in the footsteps of cities like Kitchener and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“It’s a good day for Torontonians. Chickens are already in our community, this

normalizes a practice frankly that is around the world,” Ward 21 Councilor Joe Mihevc said after the vote.

Ward 5 Councilor Joe Di Ciano said that “at the end of the day, this allows hobbyists or outdoor people to have a few birds in the backyard. You can listen to the fear mongering, or listen to the facts.”

He points to the fact that last year, in Niagara Falls, 500 people complained about dogs, but only about ten chickens for noise.

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