Monday, July 13, 2015

Backyard Eggs for Minto

The Municipality of Minto, 80 km North of Kitchener, is considering allowing backyard chickens for eggs.

We support this proposed Minto By-law change so that people can have affordable, high quality eggs.  But what about meat birds?  Why are meat birds set aside as a forgotten option?

Do the bureaucrats think that nobody is interested in meat?  Are meat birds considered to be a greater nuisance (eg. noise, disease, smell, or something else)?  DO the Councillors worry about the thin wedge of allowing meat birds will improperly encourage people to be doing backyard slaughtering?

I would also like to know why meat birds, especially pastured poultry, are not being considered?  Small flock, pasture raised meat birds are significantly better than those provided by the commercial chicken system.  I know of no reason to exclude meat birds from consideration.  If you have data to the contrary, I'd appreciate receiving a copy of these data.

If anybody has answers to why this proposal for backyard eggs but no chicken meat, we'd love to hear the answers.

Eggs are "Nature's Little Vitamin Pill", but man does not live by eggs alone.  Eggs are good to eat, but so are small flock pastured meat birds.

In 2013, Canadians ate 21.35 dozen eggs per person (see Ag Canada's website  ).

The average household is around 4 persons (typically 2 parents and 2 children), so a household would consume a total of 85.4 dozens (ie. 1025 eggs per year, or 2.8 eggs per day).  Most layers produce at 28 hrs per egg (ie. 80% daily yield), so this would require at least 3.5 chicken.  Five chickens would allow for cracked eggs not suitable for human consumption, cold weather yield losses, and similar problems.

This proposed 5 bird limit allows for the "typical" family.  What about "non-typical" families?  I therefore suggest that residents be allowed to approach Council for special permission to exceed the 5 bird limit under sufficient circumstances.

Meat Birds

The average small flock in Ontario is 57 meat birds per year.

Canadian average chicken meat consumption is 30.7 kg of chicken per year per person.  Assuming a family of 4 people, they would need 122.8 kg/yr.  Assuming the kg. eviscerated meat to live weight ratio of 0.6863 kg/kg, this family would need 122.8/0.6863= 178.93 kg/yr of live chickens.  Assuming 2 kg/live bird at slaughter, this is 89.5 birds.  The typical mortality rate from day-old chicks to full grown 2 kg birds may be 5%, so they would have to buy 94 chicks.

I would recommend that the Minto By-law permit each family to raise 100 meat birds per year.  Pastured poultry can and should be grown at a slower rate than the breakneck speed of chicken factory farms, so this may require 8 weeks per growout.  They can be raised in the coop &/or outdoors in pastures from May to October, a 6 month window (24 weeks), allowing 3 growout periods per year.  It would be far less work to raise all the chickens in one big flock, but it could be done in 3 flocks of 33 birds per flock.

Please Tell Minto

I have sent this info to Mr. Bill White, CAO at Minto, and he has graciously responded that he will forward the info to Council.

We encourage all our readers to reach out in support for the planned consideration of backyard, small flock eggs for Minto.

Minto Municipal Services
CAO/Clerk Bill White
5941 Highway 89
Harriston, ON N0G 1Z0 
Phone: 519-338-2511
Fax: 519-338-2005
Minto Website:

Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm

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