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Coop cap lifted on Edmonton’s urban chicken program

WATCH: It may not be long before more Edmontonians hear or see chickens roaming in area backyards. The city recently lifted its cap on the amount of chicken coops allowed from its urban chicken program. Chris Chacon explains.

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.

READ MORE: Questions remain as Edmonton moves to permanent urban hen program

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.

READ MORE: Edmonton to expand urban hens pilot project to 50 sites

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.

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“The main benefit is self sustainability for having your own chickens.

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“Some people have them as pets, some people have them so they can have their own eggs [and] some may just enjoy working with chickens,” said Thea Brooke, acting Sgt. with the Animal Care and Control Centre.

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.

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“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.”

READ MORE: Urban chickens, invasive plants discussed at Halifax Regional Council

“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.

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