Lacombe City Council is currently working on making their urban hens pilot project a permanent program and early adopter Jana Fafard and her family don’t see anything wrong with that.
“They are lots of fun, good entertainment and we love the eggs,” Fafard said.
Fafard and her husband originally wanted a hen coop after moving from Edmonton to Lacombe.
“There was no pilot project in the time, so we had to go to Council to ask if they would put one in,” she said. “Once that was in, we waited a bit until we got our permit, built our coop and then we got our chickens.”
At the time, Fafard was required to consult her neighbours — none of whom had any concerns.
“They don’t care and since we got the chickens, we now know about 95 per cent of our neighbours. Everyone wants to come and meet the chickens. They have actually brought our community together in this neighbourhood,” she said.
The cost of installing a coop can vary, but Fafard at the time decided that if the pilot does not carry on, they can convert it to a shed — making the extra cost more palatable.
“We spent around $1,000 and we have a fully insulated coop and we we have mesh completely around the outdoor run to make sure nothing else could get in,” she said, adding the cost since then has simply been purchasing chickens (the City allows four) and feed.
Fafard and their family spend as little as five to 10 minutes per day managing their coop.
“We clean the coop daily and give them fresh water and food every day,” she said. “They are fantastic in that everything they generate can be composted. They are also fantastic at getting rid of kitchen scraps and waste. We collect the eggs every day.”
Fafard doesn’t see any issue with extending the amount of permits currently allowed at 10.
“We back on to a major roadway and people walking by don’t even realize they are here. As long as they are well looked after it’s great. Anyone who pays for a permit is likely to look after their animals just like dog permits,” she said.
She added, “The fresh eggs are fantastic and the kids like it.”