Chickens in West Vancouver

Lets show support for our neighbors to the West!  West Vancouver is in process for a backyard hen bylaw.

District of West Vancouver Hen Bylaw Process

Introduction

Until 2008, the District of West Vancouver allowed the keeping of backyard chickens (hens only). Since 2008, the keeping of backyard chickens has been prohibited.

At a recent Council Meeting, some members of the community made a request to keep chickens (hens only) in their backyards. Council directed staff to gather information and report back. Staff provided an Information Report to Council on May 25, 2015, recommending a brief public consultation to gather input from residents and community groups.

How to Participate

Please take a moment to share your opinion about this initiative by taking the survey at the link below. You will be asked to register and given the option to post your survey on the public forum, or share it with staff off-forum.

Next Steps

We are collecting input from members of the community during June and July. Staff will review feedback from the community and report back to Council in the fall with recommendations and next steps.

** Take the Survey! **

Keep your Chickens and Wildlife Safe: Minimize the Risk of Predator Attraction

North Vancouver is an idyllic place, an urban island nestled between ocean and mountain, surrounded by beautiful West-Coast rainforest. Proximity to nature however, means that encounters with all varieties of wildlife may be an all too common occurrence. In the interest of respecting and protecting wildlife while ensuring a safe, untroubled and un-pestered environment for ourselves, it is important that we educate ourselves to be wildlife smart. As pet owners we have a vested interest in minimizing wildlife encounters, but pet owners or not, it is important for us all to minimize encounters through responsible action and management of attractions; compost, garbage, fruit trees, bird feeders and pet food, to name a few.

The following are some suggested precautions and management.

Evaluate your environment

The first and most important question is whether your property, and neighboring area, are frequented by large predators such as bears. If you live on a greenbelt or wildlife corridor that is frequently utilized by such predators, then you must seriously consider whether keeping chickens is appropriate, and take appropriate precautions if you choose to proceed. In addition, urban animals, such as dogs and cats, may be pests or predators of chickens, and should be considered in your evaluation.

Minimize attractants

Chickens themselves are not always an attractant, often it is actually the conditions under which chickens are kept.

  • Feed-
    Do not broadcast feed your chickens. Keep feed contained in a feeder than can be easily removed at night. If you feed kitchen scraps to your hens, collect all uneaten scraps. Do not store feed in or near your coop. Similar to garbage, feed should be kept indoors or inside a closed garage where it is not easily accessible to wild animals.
  • Eggs-
    Do not allow eggs to collect inside the coop, they must be collected daily.
  • Poop-
    Maintain your coop! Keeping a clean coop will not only benefit the health of your chickens, but it will greatly minimize any wildlife attraction. It will also keep your neighbors happy! Soiled bedding should be contained within compost bins, and properly maintained. If you do not know how to optimally maintain compost, the North Shore Recycling offers free compost consultation and coaching.

Provide a robust and protected home

Remember the 3 little pigs… straw, sticks or bricks?!

Take the time to build or buy a sturdy well-built coop. A coop is an investment; you will have to spend some time and money to ensure your chickens will be well-house and safe.

  • Robust Construction
    Robust construction is necessary to deter or prevent large predators from gaining access.  Moveable coops such as chicken tractors, are wonderful to confine your chickens to an area in the garden, while you are supervising, but they are not adequate for permanent housing.  Select appropriate building materials, heavy gage screws, hardware-cloth and wood such as 2×4’s and 3/4 inch or thicker plywood, to assure the coop is heavy and strong.
  • Hardware cloth-
    Do not use net or chicken wire to build your hen enclosure; they are not strong enough to protect the hens and rodents may gain access through them.  Instead, use ½ inch or ¼ inch welded hardware cloth.
  • Latches-
    Your coop should have hasps, latches and locks which are located high and are challenging to open (a rule of thumb is that if a 3 year old can figure it out, so can a raccoon!)
  • Perimeter/ Foundation-
    Install a solid foundation and/or an underground perimeter of hardware cloth the prevent coup access by burrowing.  If your coop is lightweight, consider adding rebar to your foundation to peg the coop down and prevent it from being tipped.
  • Fencing and coop placement
    Pest and predators prefer fast food! They are far less likely to persist in efforts to gain access to your coop if it is a challenge for them. In addition to robust coop construction, it is recommended that your yard be fenced. A fence provides an additional barrier to your coop and your birds. Placement of the coop on your property in a sheltered position may also contribute to security.

Consider Deterrents

If you feel that further precautions are appropriate or necessary, you may want to consider utilizing deterrents. Deterrents are best use before a problem is established, but they may also be useful once wildlife or urban predators have located your coop and it is necessary to dissuade them from returning.

 

Again, we encourage the respecting and protecting of wildlife; we DO NOT endorse any extremes that are inhumane or put wildlife at risk.

 

The following list of deterrents may be a good place to start, these range in effectiveness depending on your pest/ predator problem:

  • marking your territory (or encouraging your dog to do it!)
  • establishing a perimeter of displeasing odors such as moth balls (which can be hung in cloth bags or socks)
  • motion sensor water jets
  • solar night eyes
  • electric fencing

 

Electric fences generate short high voltage direct current pulses which can pack a wallop by causing a sharp muscle contraction, but do not cause any long term or permanent damage or injury. For more detailed information on electric fences, you may want to review these excellent resources.

 

All of these deterrents can be found locally at the Otter Coop, Buckerfields, Princess Auto and Lee Valley Tools.

A $3,000 NV Chicken Roost to Call Home

David Adair’s chickens likely won’t be flying their coop.

If one can call their $3,000 custom-made, cedar-sided, insulated henhouse a coop, that is.

Indeed, the Adairs have considered dubbing it the Chicken Palace. Or maybe the Little Spruce Coop. Or even the Blackfish Chicken Shack.

“It’s located in our front yard so we wanted to make sure it was esthetically pleasing as well functional for the chickens themselves,” said Adair, owner of Blackfish Homes in North Vancouver. “They seem pretty happy in there.”

It’s not surprising.

The five-foot-high coop, in the front yard at Westview and Larsen Street in North Vancouver, is like a luxury laneway house for chickens.

Elevated 18 inches above the gravel drive, the 4.5-foot by 5.5-foot coop is constructed of cedar planks and is topped by a green roof — a wooden garden bed stuffed with pots of dill, lettuce, bok choy and flowers — to help keep the inside of the coop cooler in summer and warmer in winter and prevent the chickens, dogs and raccoons from eating the spoils.

A black, powder-coated aluminum frame surrounds the chicken run outside with a another garden bed at the foot for more plants or vines that will come after Adair adds a Plexiglas shield to prevent the hens from pecking at it.

A ladder allows the chickens to get from the run outside to the door leading into the henhouse, which has fully insulated, painted pine walls, a straw-covered floor, three laying boxes and roosting bars.

A cage underneath the bars prevents the chicken poo from falling on the ground, keeping the coop fairly clean. And the space under the main living quarters allows the chickens to get some fresh air, along with food and water, when it’s raining or cold outside.

There’s even maid service of sorts: A big door in the back allows the Adairs to get into the coop and tidy up, while a side door allows their three-year-old son to pop in and collect the eggs.

More

By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
June 9, 2014

 

Chickens get to stay in Kamloops yard — for now

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A coop of hens will cluck away for a while after city council in Kamloops, B.C., agreed to delay enforcing its animal-control bylaw for at least a year.

Lyann Wourms has kept the six chickens on her property in the Heffley Creek area for more than a year — until one of her neighbours started blaming them for “causing a stink.”

Wourms said that was around the same time that a nearby farm started fertilizing.

She appeared before council on Tuesday, asking for more time to relocate her chickens, which she said would need to be slowly introduced to a new flock.

Instead, council voted 5-3 to let her keep the chickens until the city finishes its Urban Agricultural Plan.

Coun. Tina Lange, who voted in favour, pointed out the city suspended enforcement for a backyard bee-keeper in 2012 when it became clear the city was likely to change its rules on bees.

She said the chickens, which Wourms keeps behind a tree near Crown land at the edge of her property, aren’t likely to cause a disturbance.

“There’s so many people that have chickens in their backyard and because they’re quiet, unobtrusive and don’t make any smell we don’t get complaints.”

The Urban Agriculture Plan, due in spring of 2015, will provide recommendations about backyard and commercial food production in the city, including chickens.

Read More… Chickens get to stay in Kamloops yard — for now.
The Province, May 14, 2014

Getting to the Butt of the Problem- Chicken Diapers?

Link:
/ The Natural Poultry Farming Guide

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I’ve seen it all now!  You can now buy a certain accoutrement which enables you to keep your chicken in the house with you.  No more being banished to the hen house!  What is it I hear you ask?  Well, it is quite simply, a chicken diaper!

With a Chicken Diaper, your chicken can now be a house pet and mingle with the family! Chicken Diapers are extremely easy to put on chickens and easy to wash too. Chickens made great pets but their gentle nature combined with chicken diapers allows for them to become a member of the family and hang out on the couch and watch a movie with the rest of you! A variety of colors and styles – please let us choose. To choose a size, simply measure from the base of the neck, across the back and to the vent to come up with the size you’ll need.

continue…

What to Feed Your Chickens: Commercial Feed, Forage, Food Scraps, and Treats

Commercial Feeds

Medicated on non-medicated?
Medicated feed is a preventative measure against coccidiosis infection in young chicks. Coccidiosis is passed between birds via feces.  Keeping chicks in clean, dry litter or on a wire mesh floor is effective at limiting exposure to feces and may be sufficient in preventing coccidiosis. Medicated feeds have been developed primarily because in commercial operations, limiting chick exposure to feces is nearly impossible. When getting your birds, it is important to enquire if they have already been vaccinated against Coccidiosis.

Chick Starter
This feed is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of hens from hatching to approximately 6 weeks of age. It contains 20 to 25% protein, which allows for initial quick and optimal development.

Grower / Pullet
This feed is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of hens from approximately 6 to 22 weeks of age (or to the laying of their first egg).  It contains 16-18% protein; this lower protein quantity actually slows development and allows hens, destined to be layers, to grow strong bones and reach adult body weight before laying begins.

Layer feed
This feed is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of hens from approximately 22 weeks of age (or the laying of their first egg) onwards. It contains 16-18% protein with the addition of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals, to aid with egg development.

Feed Consistency
Feed comes in 3 consistencies: mash, crumble and pellets.  Mash is a fine flake or power, which may be fed dry or mixed with water to create a moist mash; this if often fed to chicks.  Adult feed comes in crumbles or pellets, although crumbles are preferred if they are available.

Garden Forage

Chickens will happily eat your garden weeds and common garden pests such as slugs, grubs and bugs.  Be aware however, that they may not stop at your weeds; they also love fresh seedlings and a variety of ornamental garden plants. Chickens may also eat plants that are toxic to chickens.  Chickens should be sequestered from newly seeded areas, plants you do not want damaged, as well as toxic plants.  We recommend that you read up on what common garden plants are toxic to chickens. PoultryHelp.com offers this great resource list of toxic plants.

Kitchen Scraps

Chickens-eating-strawberries

You may supplement your chickens’ diet with cooked or raw leftovers from the kitchen.  You may feed them items that are bruised or overripe, but do not feed them anything that is so rotten you wouldn’t eat it yourself.  Do not feed them candies or sweets, anything high in salt, citrus, raw or green potato, avocado peel or pits, raw eggs, dried or uncooked beans. Backyard chickens provides a wonderful chart of produce and food scraps that can be fed to chickens.

Treats

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Just like the offerings from your favorite bakery, treats are yummy but do not contain balanced nutrition and should remain treats not regular diet items!

Chicken Scratch
This is a treat made of a mixture of various grains such as wheat, rye, corn.

Earth Worms, Meal Worms and Crickets
These are available live or freeze dried at many pet or bait and tackle shops.  Live critters provide chick

ens with enrichment and the opportunity to hone hunting skill.  They also provide a great deal of entertainment for you!

Other Nutritional Requirements

Grit
Chickens do not have teeth, and therefore need to consume sand, small stones and grit to aid with the grinding of consumed food within the digestive system.  If you are feeding your chickens whole grains, scratch or food scraps, you must also provide access to some form of grit.

Oyster or Egg Shell
In order to lay eggs with strong and well formed shells chickens require a diet that is high in calcium and other minerals.  You must provide your chickens with a calcium rich dietary supplement such as oyster shell. Their own egg shells are also an excellent calcium supplement, however special care must be given if you intend to feed them to your chickens. If chickens recognize they are eating egg, they may develop the habit of pecking, eating and destroying their eggs before you have a chance to collect them.  To ensure they do not resemble eggs, egg shells should be washed, dried and ground down to fine chips or powder before being fed to chickens.

Breed Selection

5834420305_2de19277dcChicken breeds vary greatly in traits worth considering when selecting your own backyard flock.  The Henderson’s Chicken Breed Chart is a thorough and recommended resource.

Egg Qualities and Production
Egg qualities such as size and colour, along with the frequency, reliability and duration of peak egg production, are obvious considerations in breed selection for a backyard flock of laying hens.  While these traits are important, there are many other, perhaps less obvious, traits to consider.

Temperament
Breeds range in social temperament from very tame and cuddly to aloof and flighty.  Handling your chickens regularly, hand-feeding treads and/or hand-raising chicks will improve socialization in all breeds. Breeds that are on the aloof and flighty end of the spectrum are often better adapted to free ranging because they will tend to alarm quickly and flee from predators. Breeds on the tame and cuddly end of the spectrum are generally less reactive to environmental stresses and may better tolerate confinement.

As our bylaws in the City of North Vancouver do not allow for free-ranging hens but rather keeping hens contained and protected at all times within an enclosed run, a selection of breeds that tolerate confinement well may be more desirable to ensure the health and happiness of your flock.

Environmental Compatibility
Vancouver winters are usually fairly mild, long, dark and wet; our summers are fairly mild and short.  Considering the environment while selecting breeds, and choosing breeds that are well suited to local conditions, can translate to a flock that is easy to maintain without a lot of extra care. If you were to select breeds that are commonly raised in the tropics, for example, they will require extra consideration such as a sheltered run, or an insulated and perhaps heated coop.

Purpose: Layers, Broilers, Fryers and Roasters
For obvious reasons, breeds developed for meat are often referred to as broilers, fryers or roasters; and they are generally larger, heavier birds.  Breeds developed for egg production are referred to as layers; and are typically lighter, leaner birds. Certain breeds meeting both criteria may be referred to as hybrids. In breed selection, bear in mind that meat birds will generally consume greater quantities of feed.  Layers will be more economical eaters, if only slightly.

For Show
Your interest in breed selection may be the chickens’ varied, unique or rare physical traits.  Some fancier breeds may be very high maintenance as far as chickens go, but as small flock owners, we can afford to be picky with our birds, providing we are willing to make the effort to meet their special needs.  You may also consider joining a local poultry fanciers association or attend poultry shows or fairs.

Links and Resources