Thursday, August 11, 2011

So much Media

I received a call at 7:00 this morning from a local radio station, CBC Radio 1, and they asked to do a phone interview with me about our birds. Of course I said yes; I was glad to do it. I think I did a great job with this interview. I was informative and definitely made a good case for urban chicken keeping. In every interview so far I am sure to make mention on CLUCK (Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub) since they have been more than supportive. I spoke about why we want chickens and also about the benefits of raising them not only for eggs but for educational purposes for our children. We simply want to provide our family with wholesome, nutritious, hormone free eggs and teach them all about the life cycle and about where food comes form.

We made the Windsor Star print as well as online. We were on A1 news and it was an amazing piece... very informative and "pro chicken!" They even interviewed people from within town and there was not one negative comment about the raising of hens for eggs in urban backyards.
We also have been in touch with 3 town councillors so far to speak about our options and changing the bylaw. We are very optimistic at this point in time, yet, only time will tell.

A’burg family forced to lose chickens

Homeowner Sarah Lock with her son Owen, 3, feed one of four hens in the backyard of their home on Park Lane Circle in Amherstburg, Ont., Aug. 10, 2011.

Homeowner Sarah Lock with her son Owen, 3, feed one of four hens in the backyard of their home on Park Lane Circle in Amherstburg, Ont., Aug. 10, 2011.

Photograph by: Nick Brancaccio, The Windsor Star

AMHERSTBURG, Ont. -- An Amherstburg family may fly the coop after they were ordered by the town to get rid of their backyard chickens.

Sarah and Aaron Lock say they are contemplating selling their home and moving to a more chicken-friendly community if they can’t convince the town to let them keep their four hens.

Sarah Lock said she received a lot of positive feedback as soon as she began blogging about their efforts to get fresh, organic eggs on the dining room table, as well as about the opportunity it afforded to educate their two youngsters on where their food comes from.

But the couple got a visit Tuesday night from an officer after one disapproving neighbour referred local authorities to the Locks’ webpage at An order was issued to get rid of the hens by next week.

“They’re quiet, they’re clean, they’re not negatively affecting people ... it’s so sad, so silly,” said Lock.

Before setting up a secured backyard coop and getting the hens in July, Lock said the couple tried for a month to get advice from the same bylaw office. Hearing nothing and noting the town’s bylaw permits household birds, as well as getting to know others who are raising hens, the Locks went ahead.

They learned this week Amherstburg’s bird bylaw does not include chickens.

“We could have three caged emus,” said Lock, adding her four barred Plymouth Rock chickens are quieter than the crickets in the grass of their Golfview Estates neighbourhood, they don’t smell and there is no intention of ever adding a rooster to the mix.

“We will fight to try and change the bylaw. We’ll either get our chickens back or we’ll move to where they’re allowed,” said Lock.

Calls by The Star to the municipality were referred to town CAO Pam Malott, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

On the same night as the Locks were ordered to get rid of their hens, a group of Windsor urban chicken lovers that formed after city council refused their request for backyard poultry received a $500 government award to expand their rural operations.

“Every time there’s a new food recall, more people are becoming concerned about their food supply,” said Philippa Von Ziegenweidt of the Windsor-Essex Coop Co-op Collective. The group, which began its egg-laying co-operative in the county in May, plans to expand its operations with more members and more hens after winning one of several grants handed out by the Windsor Essex County Environmental Committee, chaired by Coun. Alan Halberstadt.

Despite the city hall brush-off earlier this year, Von Ziegenweidt said Windsor advocates are “still keen on backyard chickens,” and she guarantees the group will return to lobby council to permit urban hens.

Ten local families belong to the co-op, which is using land offered by an Essex farmer in the spring. Members share in the chores and costs, as well as the eggs produced by 24 hens. The grant will go toward expanding the program to permit more families to join, said Von Ziegenweidt, adding there are no commercial sales.

“That’s how I grew up, with farm-fresh food,” said fellow member Sara Kelley. A Windsorite who was raised on a Harrow farm, she wants her children, ages three, six and nine, to know the advantages of fresh and healthy food and to know where it comes from.

For more on the local urban egg movement, visit the blog or CLUCK: Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (Windsor-Essex Chapter) on Facebook.


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