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Backyard hens in Oshawa?

Local student pushes to allow birds in city

A local secondary school student has appealed to the city to allow backyard hens. The practice is legal in certain wards in Toronto and other municipalities across Ontario. (Photo supplied)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

A local teenager has appealed to the city to allow residents to house chickens in their backyards.

The request came via a letter to the city’s clerks department from a secondary school student named Hussain Noor Mohammed.

“Recently, I’ve been fascinated with Toronto’s movement on allowing specific wards to keep backyard chickens,” Mohammed wrote. “It’s not only a good educational purpose to keep these hens in a backyard, but it is also very sustainable and rewarding.”

Mohammed states that he personally wants to acquire backyard hens, however he learned that it is currently illegal in Oshawa.

He estimated the practice may be illegal due to the “sound and smell that these hens make,” but argued this is unfounded.

“These stereotypes can be put to rest as hens (which are female chickens) do not make any noise and roosters (male chickens) do,” he said in his letter.

He said the smell can be avoided if caretakers take proper measures to clean up after the animals.

Mohammed says he lives in an area that used to be farmland.

“Oshawa’s farms have been a huge part of its history and I believe that we should legalize having hens to keep this tradition on.”

The student argues with Toronto and other municipalities allowing the practice, it should be no problem for Oshawa.

“I believe that this is an advancement to becoming a more developed city and will allow Oshawa to have a better and more positive outlook on itself.”

Mohammed says he sent a similar message to the city’s by-law department last year and was told an unnamed council member had said humans could contract diseases from hens.

“The council member did not provide evidence or an in-depth research for it, therefore I researched many diseases that chickens may pass onto humans. Diseases only stem from dirty environments and will only affect weak immune systems. Example, you are a toddler going into a coup filled with chicken poop that’s mouldy, then the chance of that happening is possible,” he states.

The letter has been placed on items for consideration during January meetings.