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urban hens

Pilot project allowing people in Toronto to keep pet chickens could soon end forever

When you think of the bustling metropolis of Toronto, you may not automatically think of farming, but the city has been home to more than one initiative promoting just that.

Along with encouraging community gardens, dedicating a week to celebrating urban agriculture, and offering grants for people who create bee-friendly habitats on their property, the city launched its Urban Hens project in 2018, permitting residents in certain neighbourhoods to try their hand at raising their own chickens (not roosters) "for the purposes of enjoyment and egg production."

It was something city council had debated for many years before deciding to test it out, and though it seems like quite a few people have taken advantage of the project and it was at one point extended past its original length, it's due to come to an end on March. 31.

The city is now asking for feedback on the initiative to prepare a report that will make recommendations for the its future — which could mean expanding it or ending it completely.

Staff will take into account any formal complaints, available resources to continue with Urban Hens, potential future risks and the overall success of the pilot, along with reviews from the public, which can be submitted online before Feb. 11.

Some concerns include the fact that not many veteranarians in the area are accredited to treat chickens, which could lead to a lack of adequate medical care.

On the flip side, many are excited at the prospect of food sovereignity, learning a new skill/hobby and having hens as pets.

And, some have made their coops quite quirky and fun for passerby, inviting community engagement with animals one would not get to interact with in the city otherwise.

Lead photo by

Tom Ungerer

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