It’s a glorious day for us all! You are now allowed to own a pet chicken if you live within one of Toronto’s designated four wards, as long as you follow some guidelines.
The pilot project, Urban Hens TO, began last friday Friday in Ward 5 (Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Ward 13 (Parkdale-High Park), Ward 21 (St. Paul’s) and Ward 32 (Beaches-East York) and will be around until March 2021. Torontonians can have as many as four hens per backyard and must register the their pets with the city, as well as comply with regular inspections.
Contrary to popular belief, hens are actually supposed to cooporate immensely well in urban environments. When the council was voting on the topic last fall, it was one of their main concerns, not to mention the possibility creating noise, foul odours, or posing welfare risks for other Toronto pets.
#CityofTO's Urban Hens pilot program begins today. Residents in four wards in Toronto can keep hens in their backyards as part of the new Urban HensTO pilot program. News release: https://t.co/1JkbMTJMkX #UrbanHensTO @TOAnimalService pic.twitter.com/pWr5AtVyla
— City of Toronto (@TorontoComms) March 2, 2018
Lorraine Johnson, author of City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing, says that hens are well-suited to the Toronto enviornment and will actually thrive better here than they do on farmland.
Although owning a hen isn’t a lot of work, according to Johnson, it should be given the same amount of thought as a pup! Plus, there just as much fun. “A lot of people think of backyard hens as pets with benefits. They are amazing creatures, a lot of fun, and their eggs are delicious,” Johnson said.
Some rules you need to follow incase you’re thinking of getting your own hen friend: hens must be at least 4 months old (so they aren’t confused with roosters), used for egg production only (don’t eat your own pet, basically), and eggs must be for personal consumption and not sold or given away. So don’t deal your fresh eggs on the street corner…I’ve heard it’s a shady business.