Backyard chicken rental business booms amid debate
BARRIE, ONT. -- Just like the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg? The debate surrounding backyard chickens continues in Barrie, Innisfil and Midland.
Abigail Robinson has been raising and renting chickens on her farm in Innisfil, Ont., for two years.
For $565 you get two chickens, a coop and enough feed to last from May to October.
"I am almost sold out. A lot of people with children want to teach them about food," said Abigail Robinson, owner of Father's Joy Farm. "They want to teach them about safe sustainability or just have something fun to do."
But many communities are preventing their residents from having chickens of any kind in what are called settlement areas.
While the town of Innisfil was considering allowing backyard chickens, the manager of land use planning, Mary Nordstrom, says the risk to the farming community is too high.
"The biggest cause for concern for council was the biosecurity, and that risk of virus spread from these backyard chickens by migratory birds to farming operations," Nordstrom said. "That could then, you know, impact the farming community within and beyond Innisfil."
Over in Midland, the town is considering the idea, as council waits for a report on the topic.
In Barrie, councillor Ann-Marie Kungl is hoping the city gives backyard chickens the green light.
"We're seeing examples in other areas where this has been very successful," Kungl said. "So we absolutely want to hear about concerns. We want to continue to have the conversation."
Meanwhile, Robinson says she only has a few rental coops left for the summer.
She adds, she is getting calls from people interested as far away as Timmins, Ont.