Backyard chickens have become more popular during COVID-19 as food security becomes a hot topic. (Contributed)

Backyard hens in Golden: what you need to know

While only certain properties are zoned for permitted hen use, chickens are still a possibility

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many have taken to at home agriculture in the form of vegetable gardens and plants.

But what about animals?

Currently, the town bylaws outline that specific zones have permitted use of agriculture.

Certain properties in town fall under those zones and have permitted use to have things like chickens, cows and pigs on property.

These properties are mostly located on the periphery of town with large parcels of land.

“When I get inquiries about having a few backyard hens I lay that out, that it’s only allowed in these areas,” said Phil Armstrong, manager of development services for the Town of Golden.

“But we understand that people are experimenting with having a few chickens, so it’s really a question of scale.”

Armstrong says that town has had issues in the past with people in town having too many chickens, or even having roosters, which can become a neighbourhood nuisance in terms of noise and smell.

“The bylaw officer has had to go out to visit these locations and deal with the nuisance,” said Armstrong.

“Keep it clean, keep it low scale, do your research and follow the BC SPCA has great links about having backyard hens.”

Armstrong says that chickens and backyard hens are something the town will look at in the coming years, but it hasn’t been a priority as of yet.

READ MORE: ‘Crying fowl’: BC SPCA calls on hobby farmers to stop abandoning chickens

He also says it’s something the town has been aware of since 2010 and dating back to when the town drafted its new zoning bylaw.

The town did a survey gauge public perception of backyard chickens, with the results coming back with about a 50-50 split when it came to supporting chickens.

“There was passion on both sides, but it ended up with us no focusing on that right now, it’s kind of a peripheral issue that was detracting from the process,” said Armstrong.

“But it can be a great thing in a time of food security and wanting to garden and provide food for your family.

“These kinds of things are important in a rural community.”

For those who are thinking about backyard chickens, Armstrong suggests talking about it with neighbours to get an idea of what they might consider a nuisance.

He also says to check bylaws on accessory buildings for things like the coop and the run.

“Really do your research, don’t just jump into it,” he said.

“Do a good job and talk to your neighbours.”

Town bylaws don’t cover Area A, with places like Nicholson and Parson having different regulations.

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