It may not be long before more and more Edmontonians hear or see chickens roaming area backyards. The city recently lifted the cap in its urban chicken program on the amount of chicken coops allowed.
“We love animals and I’m very into homesteading and gardening and composting,” urban farmer Ashley Bouchard explained.
Ashley and her husband, Matt Bouchard, have owned chickens for three years. They are housing them in their backyard.
In 2014, the city launched an urban chicken pilot program, granting 50 residents the chance to operate a coop in their backyard.
With the city lifting that cap, the opportunity is now available to anyone who’s interested.
“I think it’s really great that the city has opened up this program so that people can experience where their food comes from and producing some of their own food,” Ashley said.
“The main benefit is self sustainability for having your own chickens.
For the Bouchards, it’s all of the above.
“What we love about it is being able to know where our food comes from but also spending time with the birds. They’re really funny social creatures.
“They get along with the pets that we have that live inside, so it’s a little happy farm family,” Matt said.
“From three hens, we probably get about two eggs a day on average, so that’s definitely enough for our family. That’s about a dozen a week.”
“They taste delicious. They taste so much better than a store-bought egg and they’re fresh and you can keep them for months because you don’t have to refrigerate them,” Ashley said.
To obtain a licence, there are several steps. Applicants must take a course, get a development permit and acquire a coop.
Since the cap was lifted, there have been 13 new applications.