The birds and the bees

Many people are struggling these days to pay bills and keep food on the table.

Many people are struggling these days to pay bills and keep food on the table.

So it seems those advocating for backyard chickens and beehives in the city may have a valid point.

Growing up in the middle of Victoria my parents kept chickens in the backyard, ostensibly for both meat and eggs. But they weren’t quite prepared for what came with preparing the chickens for the table.

I remember as a small, small girl my dad putting one of our fluffy white chickens over a wooden block and whacking its head off with an axe. To my amazement the headless chicken jumped up and ran around the yard for several minutes before collapsing. Boiling and plucking the dead chickens wasn’t much fun either. Needless to say, after that first year, the chickens living in our backyard were for eggs only. They had sturdy cages with elevated hutches  that could be moved around the lawn so the chickens could eat fresh grass, and assist in the lawn mowing.

My parents gave up keeping chickens in retirement when neighborhood raccoons finally figured out how to get into the cages. Our back yard would also have been a perfect place to keep bees because it was filled with apple, pear, plumb, and cherry trees, grapes, blackberries, raspberries and flowers. For a number of years there was also a big garden. I guess the point is that perhaps Williams Lake city council should seriously consider letting the more industrious city slickers in our community have a few chickens or a couple of beehives in their yards if they like.

If they are well cared for chickens what could be the harm? Eggs make pretty good protein when your budget doesn’t stretch to include meat.

Bees are much preferable to the wasps that normally take up residence each summer in my yard.

On the bright side I quite enjoy the visits I regularly receive from deer and squirrels, ravens, pigeons, robins, woodpeckers and songbirds.

Perhaps beekeepers could be required to become certified beekeepers and certain numbers of hives could be limited to licencing in specific areas of the city. Perhaps chickens could also be licensed and have little tags similar to those required by dogs.

– Gaeil Farrar/Tribune

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