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On chickens and freedoms


Photo by Joshua at

Photo by Joshua at


I’m a libertarian at heart. As a rule of thumb I am very dubious of authority, believe in individual’s right to choose his or her lifestyle in every respect, provided it does not infringe on someone else’s person or property. What does this have to do with chickens? A good deal, apparently. Calgary is currently evaluating going ‘back to its roots’ and rescinding the bylaw restricting chickens on residential lots.


Why were they ever banned? Apparently for two reasons, one – to seem more ‘progressive’ (snort) and less redneck (fail), and due to lack of common-sense rules that created a sizeable number of nuisance complaints.  So instead of implementing intelligent regulation, like a limit on a number of chickens per family, and removing the noisy roosters from the coop, they threw the baby out with the bathwater and prohibited all barnyard animals.  And all I wanted for Christmas was a goat…


There are many great reasons why people want chickens in their yards – the joy of impeccably fresh eggs, teaching children about food production and animal care, not supporting factory farming, reducing food miles, the joy of producing your own food, the ability to recycle some green scraps and on and on. Since banning roosters, the noise is hardly an issue (a lawn mowing neighbor is multiple orders of magnitude louder, and so are my neighbors children), and even the poop from a small number of chickens can be used as fertilizer.


Of course there is such a thing as being a responsible owner, which means cleaning the pens with some regularity, not exceeding the allowable numbers, and sharing excess eggs with your neighbors, or allowing local kids to drop by and say hello. But people who want to take on the responsibility of raising their food generally tend to respect those concerns, and it’s no different than pet ownership. Most will be caring and responsible and some will not. In either case I don’t believe extra government intervention and regulation is the answer.  I’ve kept a vague eye on stories of Seattle, Vancouver, etc. since their backyard chicken keepings and haven’t seen any horror stories to date. A few simple rules are enough for the vast majority of people to be good chicken raisers.  


So c’mon Calgary, get with the times (again), and let the chickens come home to roost.



6 comments to On chickens and freedoms

  • I used to have a neighbour who kept chickens in their basement. I always felt bad for the them because they always tried to get in the window but there wasn’t enough room for all of them.

  • admin

    Aaawww… yep, chickens are probably better served by living in an outdoor coop. They have stong instincs to scratch, find bugs, peck dirt and all that other chickeny stuff they do. I wouldn’t keep them in the basement any more than I’d stick a cat in a cage. 🙂

  • I think it’s a great idea to raise chickens. As long as people are being responsible with them, I can’t see what the problem is. Sounds to me like snobbery, here. Reminds me of clothes lines for laundry. In some areas, they’re banned – because they’re oh-so low class – but now that everyone is screaming to ‘conserve energy’ and ‘save the planet’, it’s hard to speak out against an energy-saving technique of drying clothes.

    Oh, looks like I’ve gone off topic…again… 🙂 Oh, yeah, the chickens…good idea.

    And I don’t like big governments. I think they should stick their noses into our business as little as possible!

  • admin

    @ WR, yup, clothes lines, veggie gardens out front and chickens in the back are all part of individual choice. Less legislation and more understanding would be nice. The states has it even worse, some homeowner’s associations there dictate what kind of planter to use for flowers and so on.

  • Over regulations everywhere, taking away any chance of self-responsibility. I hated when the states made it so parents could be legally charged, go to jail! WHAT!??! If their kids wouldn’t go to school….crazy crazy.

    I love that there are new moves towards things like this, with chikens, and GOATS. speaking of. I *DO* want a goat for xmas… While in Cowtown, I read or saw en-mass-news-media somewhere, about the city and businesses helping save the environment by hiring GOATS to ‘mow’ their lawns. Yup. It’s a reality, and such a wonderful idea. Goat meat that is raised on healthy food rather than garbage (like in many of my travels in Africa), is actually wonderful. Grilled eaten with lime juice and hot peppers. mmmmm….

    This is fun quiet reading day, getting great laughs at your blog. You are SUCH a good blogger!!!

  • admin

    Ummm yeah. Crazy indeed. That’s nanny state at it’s best for ya. Jail for school. Awesome. However, the states has LOTS of issues that I get only mildly worked up about, cause guess what? It’s not my country. It’s up to them as citizens to stand up for their rights, and mine to encourage and support that.

    I want a goat to mow my lawn too! As long as it doesn’t mow my flowers 🙂 but really we have less and less grass each year, and more flowers and food, you’ll love it when you come back! I’m planting raspberries this fall. And thanks so much for the compliment, your support means THE WORLD to me!

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