FAQ: Urban Hen Keeping
This guide is intended for small flock, backyard and urban chicken owners. Some of the topics covered in the guide include: regulations; basic chicken needs; chicken house design and sanitation; egg management; meat processing; appropriate behaviours in chickens; care of chicks; and care of chickens during the winter.
Will wildlife be attracted to the hens in the area and cause a problem in my neighborhood?
Raising backyard chickens increases the likelihood of wildlife becoming a problem. The issue tends to be with the environment that the chickens are kept. However, with strict biosecurity measures in place the issues are less likely to occur. Applicants are also required to have privacy screening in their backyard as an added measure.
"Privacy fence" means a solid fence with a continuous height of no less than 2.0 meters or the maximum height permitted by Land Use Bylaw, whichever is lesser, that creates a visual barrier, and which conceals view of the enclosed parcel and prevents entry by predators.
Will the smell of chickens and manure cause a problem in my neighbourhood? What steps do I take if it becomes a nuisance?
Chickens are very clean animals. They will occasionally give themselves "dirt baths" but this is for them to preen their feathers and keep themselves clean and cool. Their droppings usually do not smell. The droppings are easily hosed off and break down into an excellent fertilizer for the lawn. Just like all pets and animals, chickens need responsible owners to keep the area tidy and clean out their living space.
The waste is also required to be contained in a sealed, animal proof container which will mitigate any smell.
A part of the process is notifying my neighbour. What if my neighbour doesn’t want me to have backyard hens?
If your neighbour doesn’t want backyard hens, it doesn’t mean you will not be accepted into the program. Adjacent neighbours may appeal a licence for the following reasons:
- that the keeping of hens on the parcel is likely to have a materially adverse effect on the health of the adjoining neighbour or of a person living in the premises of the adjoining neighbour;
- or the applicant does not meet the requirements of this Bylaw;
- the license holder has, in the opinion of the licensing authority based on reasonable grounds, contravened this Bylaw or the license whether or not the contravention has been prosecuted;
- the licence was issued based on incorrect information or a misrepresentation by the licensee.
What if I no longer want my chickens, what do I do with them?
If you no longer want your chickens, there are agencies or farms that you can reach out to re-home your chickens.
Where do I dispose of the chicken manure?
You can dispose of chicken manure in a similar way as disposing of cat litter. Double bagging and bringing the waste to the landfill is accepted.
Are chickens noisy?
Hens are one of the quietest domestic animals. Hens have about the same decibel level as a human conversation and are much quieter than a dog barking. They cluck softly from time to time and will often cluck to let you know they recently laid an egg, which occurs inside a hen house. Unless they are in danger, they do not squawk. They sleep at night just as people do and are completely quiet from dusk to dawn. Roosters can be quite noisy as this is their role in the flock.
Do you need a rooster to get eggs?
Roosters are unnecessary in the laying process and are unnecessary to raising chickens. Chicken hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. The only difference is that with a rooster, the eggs may be fertilized. Without a rooster they are not.
Is there a protocol for quarantining sick hens?
All hen owners are required to obtain a Premise Identification Number (PID) through Alberta Agriculture. This number tracks all properties that have birds and will alert owners in the event of an outbreak. They will advise on the steps to take in the event of an outbreak.
Can humans or domesticated pets (dogs and cats) get diseases from chickens?
Yes. Salmonella and Campylobacter are the two most common communicable bacterial diseases. Proper biosecurity measures will help prevent the spread of diseases. This topic will be discussed in the mandatory backyard chicken courses.
FAQ: Questions Regarding Golf Carts
In recent months, the Village has fielded a number of inquiries about golf carts being allowed on the roads within Spring Lake.
In the Province of Alberta prohibits the use of miniature vehicles on roads. Golf carts are considered a miniature vehicle and therefore is prohibited to be driven on any road within Alberta including within the Village of Spring Lake. Please see the following reference link below.
If you have any concerns regarding the use of golf carts within the Village, please contact Parkland Enforcement Services 780.968.8400
FAQ: Dealing with an Unwanted Cat on Your Property
If you have an unwanted cat on your property, politely ask your neighbour to keep their cat on their own property. If you do not know who the owner is or if speaking with your neighbour did not solve the problem, you may want to make your property less inviting to the animal.
Making Your Property Less Inviting
Cats can be trained not to enter your yard simply by making your property unpleasant.
- Place mesh netting (angled outwards) or PVC pipe at the top of your fence to prevent cats from climbing over
- Place chicken wire just below the surface of your flower beds to discourage digging and cover the bed with bark chips or gravel so it is rough
- Spray the cat with water whenever it enters your yard
- Spread repellents around your property, like vinegar or orange peels
Scent Deterrent Alternatives
There are plants that are natural deterrents for cats as they can emit odiurs that cat dislike:
- Coleus Canina, also known as the Scaredy-Cat plant
- Helichrysum Italicum, also known as the Curry herb plant
- Lemon Balm plant
Planting these plants along the borders of a garden or flowerbed may stop cats from entering the area and causing damage. Property owners may also choose to plant prickly bushes to keep cats out of flowerbeds and gardens.
Digging Deterrent Alternatives: Using large or rough surfaced rocks to cover exposed ground or placing rocks into plant pots may prevent cats from digging. Prior to planting in the garden or flowerbed, lay a lattice on the ground and plant inside the openings. Use upright chopsticks to surround plants in pots or boxes so the cats cannot jump into them. Use mulch in your garden or flowerbed. Cats tend not to like rough textures on their paws, so making the area uncomfortable for them will help to keep them away.
Property owners may need to use multiple items and strategies in various areas to determine what will be most effective for their property.