Opinion

URBAN GARDENER: Pampering poultry

Now that City Council has given its support for a chicken bylaw to be prepared, can economic development and employment opportunities be far behind?

Just think what four laying hens can produce. My calculation is 128 eggs every seven days which translates into gross sales of $10 weekly. It is most likely excess eggs will be gifted or bartered in exchange for fresh veggies but other possibilities for this flow of new wealth is endless. Another idea regarding economic activity has come forward from Los Angeles, a city known for laying a lot of eggs. They already have dog walkers, doggie day-care and doggie sleepovers. Now  the City of Angels is supporting chicken sitting.

“Well why not?” I ask. What happens when our urban farmers travel out of town?  Here’s when a bono fide chicken sitter flutters into action. The job description includes skills in feeding, watering, coop cleaning and egg collection. If the chickens are “free” range, a sitter will let them out in the morning and hopefully they will return unscathed at sunset. As an extra service the chicken sitter could arrange  play-dates for pampered poultry. For readers who are contemplating a future position in the backyard hen business you could hone your skills while awaiting the bylaw coming into effect.There must be some excellent opportunities to practice on the neighbourhood flocks. Keep a sharp eye out while cruising the back lanes and you’ll find those concerned cluckers huddled under decks, in basement nooks and crouching under dense foliage. They have been trained to dodge the beady gaze of the beleaguered bylaw officer.

A reader asked me if the proposed new bylaw would open the door to a flood of urban chickens. As most residents who want to raise poultry are already doing so undercover there seems no reason to fear an urban chicken craze.

Did You Know That….there’s a new addition to Campbell River’s modest inventory of commercial farm holdings. Ron and Leslie Shann have turned their dream of developing their acreage into a producing berry farm. U-Pick raspberries and blackberries will be ready for harvesting towards the end of July. Ocean Grove Berry Farm is located at 3782 Island Hwy.

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