Backyard hens out of cluck

STRATHROY-CARADOC - Chickens will not be coming home to roost in urban areas of Strathroy-Caradoc. At least not legally.

After another resident chirped in with the idea, council again had staff take a look at the possibility of having laying hens and/or chickens for meat in residential backyards. CAO Fred Tranquilli relied mostly on a previous report done during the last council session that had similar conclusions on advantages and disadvantages for the idea.

Besides needing to invest in enforcement of any bylaws around such a proposal, there were also considerations of noise, smell, and attracting more predators like coyotes already seen strolling through town.

And while one positive was the idea of food security, it also works against it. The big concern for industrial poultry and egg producers in the region now is avian flu. The Poultry Industry Council had to cancel its meeting at the Caradoc Community Centre in Mt. Brydges after it says were several outbreaks on turkey farms in the area.

“We have an industry which has been here for a long time, Cuddy Farms, which is one of the largest turkey egg producers in the world. With the Avian Flu outbreak that we just had, I don’t think we want to get into this where would have to have everyone destroy their chicken… in the backyard. I think it’s a recipe for disaster and I think we should respect Cuddy’s who has given a fair bit to this community,” said Coun. Brian Derbyshire at the Feb. 21 council meeting.

Chickens are allowed in more rural areas with properties large enough to adhere to required buffer distances from neighbours.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner