Town Chickens?

Curious chicken check in

At the last council meeting on June 16, staff presented us with a report because a few people have been asking to keep hens in the towns of Mississippi Mills. That would require an amendment to the Animal Control By-law. We decided to defer the subject and get more public input.

Please read the report linked below. I was not familiar with the term “galliformes” before. Sounds elegant.

Growing up with chickens and turkeys, I know that they smell, they eat all day – chicken feed and bugs, they love dandelions, corn cobs and their dust baths and you can dress them up and cart them off in a toy baby carriage. They are not terribly noisy as long as there are no roosters. Like trains, roosters sound good only at a distance.

Our source of poultry was the municipal dump. When the railroad was on strike, my Dad got a couple of part-time jobs. One was cutting grass at the cemetery, and the other was supervising the nuisance grounds. The hatcheries used to dump what they assumed were “dud” eggs. But the sun would heat up the bags and my Dad would hear peeping. He had a very kind heart and would rescue the various hatchlings. We had two chicken coops at the farm and two gardens, plus brooder lamps and water dispensers and lots of straw. And three kids.

We made pets out of some of them: Shorty the Chicken lives on in bedtime stories I tell my grandkids; Mr McGoo the near-sighted male turkey and Jake the Turkey Hen who would come when you called her like our dog. Eggs and poultry were just a fact of our lives, and I can sympathize with those who might want a couple.

My concerns are that they need to be kept in a rear yard of a minimum size; there needs to be a decent set-back from the neighbours with attention paid to their needs for cleanliness, warmth, shade and protection from predators, and a good neighbour policy. Ideally you would get buy-in from your neighbours before embarking on it.

There is a pilot project in Toronto:

There are blogs and news stories about them:

I have not been contacted by residents about this personally, but I would like to hear your views and any suggestions. For? Against? You can contact me by email at or by telephone at (613) 256-7695.

Jan and Shorty