I would like to comment on Ms. Jensen’s letter speaking against allowing laying hens in Red Deer. It is interesting to note the concerns that she raised about manure, odour and flies.
A chicken produces far less manure than an average dog and is in fact, quieter, easier to care for and far less aggressive and dangerous than a dog yet there is no outrage in allowing dogs in the city. I presume the city disposes of dog/cat manure through the dump. Actually chicken manure, when composed, makes wonderful fertilizer and is free of odour.
Chickens have accompanied humans in urban settings for hundreds of years and are still present in many, many cities throughout the world. It is not the few backyard chickens that are to blame for avian influenza, rather the intensive flocks in areas such as the Fraser Valley which serve to amplify and spread this disease. There has never been a case of influenza being propagated through backyard chickens.
I certainly understand that raising a few hens does not appeal to everyone. It is important to realize though, that cities that allow backyard hens have not experienced problems.
No one is suggesting allowing roosters so we won’t be overrun with chickens in the street. I’ve raised hens in my city backyard for years and not only do the neighbours not hear/smell or see them, they are very happy with the occasional gift of delicious eggs. Quieter than a magpie, crow or jay, (and certainly a dog), won’t ever get loose and bite anyone, hens are inoffensive and industrious. They eat bugs and provide useful compostable manure.
Time to shed the prejudice folks!