Urban Chickens in Regina

Wednesday night I was at the City of Regina’s consultation for the livestock bylaw that bans urban chickens in Regina. Turns out that it was legal prior to a year ago because the Health region was overlooking that aspect of public health, but dropped enforcement due to budgetary reasons. The city’s enforcement branch took it upon themselves to recommend council pass a bylaw, without broad public support being established through consultation with the public. Even though 4 people showed up tonight, all opposed to all or parts of the bylaw, a “lack of public support” for removing the restrictions on some livestock may not be recommended to council by the bylaw enforcement manager writing the report. Going by public support, we shouldn’t have this law in the first place, except council failed to gauge public opinion or look at other urbans like Vancouver and New York who permit chickens. Calgary’s bylaw is going unenforced after its first test was dropped by the city bylaw prosecutor there.

Every reason the city representative gave for having the law in place, I had a counterargument for. “There could be bird flu” – We have West Nile already, people have pet birds still, unlicensed (unless they are pigeons, which need a free license, apparently). “People could buy food from farms around Regina” – People could raise their own food and cut out the middle man to save money. “People won’t accept urban chickens or miniature pigs” – People have accepted animals in cities since the dawn of urbanization following the dawn of agriculture. Regina allowed livestock on the outskirts, and chickens on College Ave. during time periods when much of the city’s older population was living.

My central point I tried to stress is that the law prohibits people from doing something natural, and normal in many cities of the world, which is raising a few animals for food security. It’s not backward or primitive to allow it, it’s simply good sense to be prepared for a food shortage. There are plenty of other bylaws available to prevent cows or puppy mills in backyards, and it’s short sighted to ban chickens, rabbits, and other small livestock or pets.

I’ll have more on this later.

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20 responses to “Urban Chickens in Regina

  1. “People won’t accept urban chickens or miniature pigs” – example of how someone in authority gets in idea in their head about “people” and can’t/won’t see any other way

  2. Pingback: Council Chickens Continued « Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff – Site News

  3. Bullshit… I want to raise a few chickens in Regina!

    Seriously I just started looking into how to do this and found this blog.

    Bah!

  4. Thanks for that Rob; can you imagine Obama or Harper having chickens at the White House or 24 Sussex? It would be a coup for the cause, that’s for sure (pun intended)!

  5. Has anything happened with this bylaw this year yet?
    I think everyone with a yard should have a garden and a few chickens in it!!!!!!!!!

    • I haven’t heard Trent, I can’t believe it’s been a year already, they were supposed to have a report, maybe one was made at the last meeting a week ago? Please let me know what you find out from your city councilor?

  6. Pingback: Backyard Chickens Not So Welcome in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada | How To Build A Backyard Chicken Coop

  7. I’d REALLY like a chicken coop and nice garden in my back yard this spring and need to start research right away, does anyone know… is it allowed in Regina?? Can i get myself some fresh eggs daily from my backyard? Or am I going to end up slapped with fines?

    • The animal bylaw in effect in Regina prohibits nearly anything that isn’t a cat or dog, which is a darn shame. We really need a more progressive City council.

      Anyway, don’t give up, there are two methods to success ahead of you:
      1) Help me change council’s mind, or change council.

      2) As long as your neighbours don’t rat on you about a problem, you can get away with it. Press on with your project and force the issue by being civilly disobedient, while enjoying your home grown food. Bylaw enforcement doesn’t have the resources to check everyone’s backyard, and if no one is complaining, there’s basically no problem for them. If you’re reported, they’d make you get rid of the chickens before issuing a fine. Go to the media, and raise the next stink about this.

      There’s a woman in the city who has an “illegal” potbelly pig, and the city has let her keep the animal so long as neighbours are not complaining of any problems, and to my last information, there have been no reasons to complain.

  8. I have wanted to keep chickens/ducks/geese in small numbers in Regina for a long time. From what I understand it is allowed in Saskatoon, because I have heard a few stories of children hatching ducklings in school and taking a few home to keep as backyard pets. I do know that keeping backyard poultry in small numbers is a growing phenomenon because fresh, organic home-grown eggs cannot be beaten. If you ask me, these animals make a lot less noise than dogs, which are often left out in backyard to bark early in the morning or late at night, and a lot less mess too. The city needs to come into the future so to speak and allow people to keep a small number of these birds. I also know a lot of people who have chickens, ducks or geese as house pets — yes, house pets! — who are diapered and trained. That doesn’t make any difference either, because they are still “livestock”, just as that pot belly pig is. When an animal is actually kept inside for the majority of the time I think it becomes no different from any other housepet — a duck is not going to harbor any diseases a parrot won’t. If you ask me these laws are way outdated.

    • The laws are outdated. Councilors are outdated. New ideas are needed in Regina to take it to the next level. I’m going to be running for city council this year.

  9. Chickens are also very friendly house pets. They supply some orginac eggs. We had 4 chickens in our backyard last year. They are quiet and they had never attacked kids. They didn’t bother my neighbors and gave us wonderful memories.

  10. I actually live in a small town outside of Regina. And I am contemplating getting chickens. But I’ve looked and cant seen to find any info on it being illegal in small towns here. Where and how can I find this out?!

    • Your town council would be able to answer. Hopefully they’re in favour. Might be easier to not ask, except clear it with neighbours, and if no complaints, there’s no problem. If you have a stick-in-the-mud neighbour who doesn’t want some free eggs, then hopefully there’s no bylaw against it, and your councillors are sensible people.

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