Ups and downs of chickens

The continuing saga of chicken ownership in the City rages on, with supporters saying all is well with raising them in Red Deer while the detractors point out the downsides.

City council is stuck in the middle – seemingly unsure of what to do about it at this point in time. More feedback is required, they say. No surprise there.

As for the chickens, it’s an odd issue where the good and the not-so-good must be considered. On one hand, there are people in the City who are very passionate about seeing urban chickens integrated into the community, and on the other hand we have heard strident arguments against allowing the chickens to move in.

First, the good points. By raising their own chickens, people are supporting themselves in that regard and bolstering a self-sustaining lifestyle. It’s no doubt a healthy option when you can raise your own chickens and know exactly what they are eating – no hormones or other elements that could ultimately affect a person’s health.

Supporters also point out that urban coops don’t resemble rural ones, and the numbers raised are on a much smaller scale. They also say that chicken waste can be used as garden fertilizer.

Then there are not-so-good aspects of urban chickens.

They can stink if they are not properly taken care of. The fear is that citizens will purchase chickens to raise and be all excited about their new approach to a more natural, healthier lifestyle. But as time goes by, the novelty will likely wear off.

Coops could get cleaned less often – which isn’t so bad if you’re living in the countryside. But with neighbours just a few feet away on either side, this could pose an issue especially if they are opposed to the urban-raised chickens in the first place.

Detractors also worry that property values will decline with chickens on the scene.

What about pets and how they perceive their ‘new’ neighbours or family members? We can just picture cats having a heyday chasing their feathered buddies around or constantly trying to attack them. What if a chicken is on the loose? Again, if you’re fine with this, life goes peacefully on. But if you have a neighbour who is dead set against this issue, you can be sure they will take every opportunity to make life difficult.

This is the type of issue where either the vast majority of citizens must be supportive or the whole topic should be put on the shelf. City council could be facing huge headaches with detractors constantly complaining about urban chickens.