A North Kildonan family has four months to get rid of their backyard chickens after they lost an appeal at city hall to keep the birds.
Stacie Gottfried lost her appeal this morning of an order under the Exotic Animals bylaw.
"I’m disappointed, yeah, but it’s wonderful to have the reprieve until February," Gottfried said following the committee meeting. "It’s been a really great learning experience and I hope we don’t have to go through this in the future."
Gottfried appeared at the committee this morning with her two young daughters, Jessie, 16, and Shanti, 11.
Under the Exotic Animals bylaw, chickens are only allowed in agriculture-zoned areas of the city, usually along the city’s outskirts. The only exception is for public and private schools.
Gottfried based her appeal on the argument that she is home-schooling her daughters and the family should be given the same exemption under the bylaw to keep chickens given to public and private schools.
The Gottfrieds have kept four hens in a coop in their isolated Essar Avenue backyard for three years.
The Gottfrieds’ home is on a large lot on a small residential street, between Henderson Highway and the Red River, just south of the Chief Peguis Trail.
The property backs onto a neighbourhood park. Her closest neighbour’s home is 50 metres from the chicken coop and she said the neighbour supports her appeal.
Gottfried said dealing with the hens since they hatched has helped her daughters learn industrial arts, finances, mathematics, history and animal husbandry.
But the school argument carried no weight with the protection committee, which voted unanimously to uphold the order but gave them extra time to find a home for the fowls.
However, Coun. Harvey Smith said he doesn’t believe the issue of urban chickens is done.
Smith (Daniel McIntyre) said several major cities across North America, including Vancouver and Portland, allow residents to keep hens, adding Winnipeggers should have that right too.
"We allow people to keep pigeons, for heaven’s sake," Smith said. "People should be able to keep chickens."
Smith said other communities allow residents to keep up to three or four hens – no roosters – in coops, a proper distance from neighbours. The coops are subject to regular inspections.