Family Transition Place to host chicken coup for Branching Out Support Services

March 11, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council approved a motion on Monday (March 8) that supports Branching Out Support Services plans to operate a chicken coup at Family Transition Place.

The motion permits the use of a chicken coup for the summer of 2021, so long as Family Transition Place (FTP) provides an agreement for the project in writing, which will come forward at Council’s next meeting, later this month.

The Town’s chicken bylaw allows residential property owners to apply for permits however, FTP is zoned institutional, which led to Kimberly Van Ryn of Branching Out Support Services requesting Council to provide an exemption this summer during their March 8 meeting.

Branching Out Support Services is an organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families in the community with disabilities.

“As a part of our summer programming, we are looking for highly unique opportunities that will allow our participants to be outside learn skills and build community,” said Van Ryn during her deputation to Council.

“We are going to be utilizing a rent-a-chicken program in cooperation with Timber Wind Farms in Clarksburg, Ontario. This program allows us to care for three laying hens from May 2021 until October 2021 without having to winter the hens so they come and bring them,” she explained.

Branching Out Support Services provides programming to individuals in the community who have disabilities and people with special needs will be operating the chicken coup. This is expected to build many functional skills according to Van Ryn, such as animal care, hygiene, space maintenance, and the responsibility of caring for living creatures. She added that there’s many therapeutic opportunities associated with animal care that’s beneficial as well.

The only issue is that Branching Out Support Services site is located downtown at 5 First Street, offering no appropriate green space to keep the hens.

To rectify this problem, FTP partnered up for the program since they have a fully fenced backyard for a small chicken coop and could also give the chickens free range abilities.

“FTP is completely on board and excited about this project. The women and children at FTP will also be able to benefit from the animals,” noted Van Ryn.

“We have a dedicated group of support professional staff and participants that will care fully for the birds and we collectively feel that so many in our community will benefit from this project.”

Timber Wind Farms is delivering the chickens for the program in late May, following the long weekend before picking them up for Thanksgiving.

At Orangeville Council’s next meeting, which is slated for March 22, they’ll approve a bylaw exemption for FTP after receiving a health and safety plan as well as written consent from FTP for the project to go forward.

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