Surrey’s backyard chicken program almost hatched

According to the city, 34 properties participated in the pilot project.

Surrey is preparing to finalize its backyard chicken program.

SURREY — Surrey is one step closer to making a backyard chicken pilot project permanent.

City council passed first and second reading for a bylaw for the program Monday night, and it’s now set to go to public hearing later this month.

The project began about two years ago, initially as a one-year pilot that was extended, after Kate McMaster approached city hall with the idea.

McMaster said she always wanted to have backyard chickens, and when Vancouver got on board, she saw no reason why Surrey couldn’t follow suit. According to the city, 34 properties participated in the pilot project.

“I think that it’s really important that we have some sovereignty over our food security,” McMaster told the Now. “I’m a big vegetable gardener, and I have bee hives and the chickens naturally followed.”

There will be some changes to the initial pilot project, explained Councillor Mike Starchuk.

Backyard chickens will be allowed on lots that are 7,200 square feet and over, as opposed to 10,000 in the pilot, said Starchuk, and the program will allow for up to four hens. As well, the urban farmers will be required to register with the province’s poultry identification program so the city can track the chickens in the event of an avian flu outbreak. There’s no cost to register.

“As much as this is a bylaw, it’s really a tool if somebody is curious in having their own” said Starchuk, as the program lays out all the rules. “Four will give you around 16 to 20 eggs a week.”

Visit McMaster’s Facebook group, Surrey Backyard Chickens & CLUCK Surrey.

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