Chicken pilot program review completed

May 31, 2017

Chicken pilot program review completed

Strathcona County recently completed a review of local impacts of an urban chicken pilot program and determined it is not suitable for the needs of the specialized municipality.

“Strathcona County is unique in that we have a dozen large scale poultry producers within a 10 kilometre radius of our hamlets. We must consider the implications of urban chickens on our rural producers,” says Manager of Agriculture, Joel Gould. “While we will not be introducing chickens into our urban areas, residents can get local eggs from the acreages and farms in our rural areas.” 

Exploring the keeping of chickens in the County’s hamlets was identified as an action area in the 2016 Urban Agriculture Strategy. Throughout public engagement on the strategy, backyard chickens was a polarizing topic with both support and concern. The County therefore explored the feasibility of an urban chicken pilot project.

Considerations include federal and provincial regulations, public health and safety, and animal welfare considerations. For example, Alberta’s Animal Health Act sets up systems for rapid response to animal disease. Domestic poultry illness would require quarantine and potential destruction of all domestic birds within a 10 kilometre radius of the found infection, according to the Act.

Lot size, housing and population density, and distance from neighbours are all factors in livestock health.  A review of urban chicken programs in other municipalities shows some programs had been disbanded due to pests, complaints, and lack of registration.

The pilot program scope and considerations were shared with the Strathcona County Agriculture Service Board in April. The board moved that “due to the importance of the poultry industry in Strathcona County, the Agricultural Service Board does not support the development and implementation of a limited scope Urban Chicken Pilot Program.”

Urban Agriculture is the first of six strategies to be developed to support the Agriculture Master Plan. Urban agriculture action areas are now being implemented in priority of greatest interest to residents.

More information

 Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community. 

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Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595