Local couple appeals for backyard chickens


Deep River couple Jessie Morrison and Marc Pinault have launched an online petition, asking the town to start a pilot project to allow people to raise as many as three to four backyard hens.

Their petition arose after the couple says the town told them their three hens were considered livestock, and a violation of the town’s zoning bylaw.

The couple says they follow best practices with their three hens, in terms of keeping their area clean and odour-free. They also say they store their feed properly to prevent vermin, and properly secure the coop and run from predators.

Their hens are nearing three years of age, and the couple anticipates this will be their last laying season, after which they will be kept simply as pets.

Their petition can be viewed at www.change.org/FlockOwnershipInDeepRiver.

The couple will make a presentation to Deep River council Wednesday night. In the summary of their presentation, they say that the benefits of allowing up to four
backyard hens “greatly outweigh any potential issues or risks, when properly regulated.”

“Hens provide greater food security to residents, reduce the spread of Lyme disease by consuming ticks and other pests, produce rich fertilizer and compost for gardening, and are excellent companions.

“In addition, hens can provide residents children with an important education in food sustainability and compassion.

“Many municipalities in Ontario (Niagara Falls, Kingston, Toronto, and many more) have addressed common concerns related to predators, odours, noise and illness by enacting regulations that set out provisions limiting the number of hens, prohibiting roosters, controlling the size and location of the enclosures, and encouraging cleanliness standards for the welfare of the hens.

“With these provisions, backyard hens are becoming increasingly popular again, as more communities become ecologically aware.”

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