Urban Farming: The Chicken in the Back Yard Debate -PART 2

In response to the wishes of the public and the media. I want to update everyone on this subject. -including where I stand.

This is David Haywood, Merritton Ward Candidate,

I will be honest, when I first encountered this issue during my campaigning I did not know a lot about the subject. However, I knew that it was an important issue so I posted it on

On the site, I asked both sides for their opinions; asked them to post any peer-reviewed literature to add strength to their position; and to clarify any misconceptions they felt there was on the issue. The response has been great and to make a long story short -the pro-side had a solidly researched, scientific-based, ecologically friendly points on the issue.

Therefore, I agree the city should LOOK into allowing people to engage in urban farming. A good start to this would be to work with other councillors to see if allowing people to raise chickens (which are already legal in the city) in coops that are located in their backyards (4 to 6 as required for their winter survival) is something that we should allow. This includes any regulations, enforcement, or yard-size requirements that need to be formulated for back yard urban farming.

As for other animals, I would need to work with other members of council -plus residents of the city, to see if they have the same benefits as animals like the chicken (or hen BUT not roosters). Having these animals can reduce our local carbon foot-print (less trucks transporting the goods we now raise, result in less waste to the landfill -chickens and other farm animal eat most of our food scraps); and lastly, provide local residents with cheap food while at the same time freeing up their scarce disposable income. Income that can be spent locally and create an added economic benefit for the local economy.

Even though I did not know the issue, I set out to try and personally know it. I worked with local residents and engaged them on the issue. The funny thing is, I was updating the information on about the issue. A resident even invited me to her house to see their hens, an offer I excepted. I hope I answered the question properly. If not, email me at or call me at (905)3240123. I want to also thank the residents of the city for their information. That includes people from both sides of the debate.


David Haywood
Merritton Ward Candidate.


  1. If I lived in Merritton I would vote for Dave.

  2. I am very impressed that you researched the issue! Merriton is fortunate to have you as a candidate. Good luck to you!

  3. I was very happy to read your post! You are a man with an open mind and thats is how any candidate should be. I live in Merritton and you definitely have my vote!

  4. Thanks everyone,

    I know that it is important to personally research the issues. The residents that I want to represent deserve no less.

    I just need my supporters to start spreading the word about voting for me. Tell family, friends, and neighbours. Word of mouth is strong, effective , and time efficient. It is getting close to election time!

    Stay tuned.


    David Haywood
    Merritton Ward Candidate.

  5. I do not like the idea of chickens in backyards.

    I do not like it because of 1 simple reason - it may create friction amongst neighbours due to the presence of noxious odors and noise.

    I have a neighbour with 2 big, obnoxious and constantly barking dogs. I have complained to the city many times and have hours upon hours of this barking recorded as evidence. The city has done nothing.

    I personally spoke to the the Assistant City Solicitor Lisa Roscoe and she told me that, although there is a nuisance dog by-law, they do not enforce it. There are too few by-law officers and the number of dog complaints is over 10,000. They simply don't have the resources.

    If you have a law, but it's not enforced, then you don't have a law at all and that leaves the rest of us unprotected.

    Not ALL animal owners are responsible and not ALL animal owners are irresponsible but I don't want to take the chance if the laws are not enforced. And I don't want to pay for more enforcement for this added burden.

    I don't care if chickens are (supposedly) quiet and clean. If someone is disturbed and the city does nothing, then the system is broken. I have no doubt that the same disregard will be shown for chicken by-laws as the nuisance dog by-law.

    Before we take on new 'potential' problems, we need to fix the current ones.

    So lets stop fighting over ridiculous stuff like this (and the chip truck fiasco) and let's get some roads fixed - let's attract new business - let's beautify our ward.

  6. Ben I couldn't agree with you more regarding the dogs. My neighbours(we have quite a few with dogs) let theirs bark non-stop and do nothing to tell them to be quiet. I have been woken up at 6 am too many times to the noise. My neighbours have received letters from the city and they still do nothing even with the threat of a fine. But how do you stop it? We have mentioned to our neighbours but with no change.

    Regarding the chickens, there are already over 60 people with legal chickens and all they are asking for are coops for protection from the elements for their birds. I don't think there will be tons of people running around buying them when and if the by-law gets passed. Like the dogs they are here to stay.

    Free roaming cats is another problem. People don't fix their cats, we get more kittens roaming, crapping in gardens, spraying houses, cars etc. This is another area of the by-law that is being ignored. Cats are not suppose to be outside roaming free but they are. I just spent over $1,000 on getting my cats healthy because they stepped in cat poop in my backyard and got ill. My cats are leashed and in my high fenced in backyard but they still got ill from some neighbours cat that decided to use my backyard as a kitty litter.

    So even with all these "by-laws" set up for "normal" pets we have problems created and friction amongst neighbours due to the presence of odors and noise. It really comes down to the neighbours who own these pets. Most don't care. They have a "deal with it" attitude. Maybe these pet by-laws need to be re looked at as well and something done about the people that ignore them.

  7. Yes, it seems that the city would rather spend it's time enforcing by laws against Brock students and whining about the permitted dimensions of signs. No one is tackling the big issues. We desperately need a change. Thanks for your support Conni.

  8. Thanks for coming to meet my hens! It was really nice meeting you!

  9. In response to Ben's post...

    "Q3 How many complaints about chickens has the city seen since the ordinance was passed?
    Of the 19 responses to this question, 13 reported 0-2 complaints. One said complaints were "rare." Two respondents reported
    between 5-10 complaints, and three single cities reported 12, 32, and 115 complaints.
    One respondent indicated that their city sees more complaints about barking dogs than they do for chicken ordinance violations.
    Q4 How is the ordinance enforced?
    This question elicited many different answers, which is reflected by the fact that there is no uniformity amongst the various ordinances passed in each city.
    Generally ordinance enforcement is complaint-driven with zoning officers, health inspectors, or animal control officers responding to citizen reports of potential violations. Of the 21 respondents to this question, five indicated that they require chicken keepers to apply for city-issued permits.
    Likely due to the minimal number of complaints, enforcement has not been a major problem in any of the cities we surveyed."