Suzanne Dagenais has taken sustainability to a whole new level by not only composting, growing her own tomatoes, peppers and other veggies – she has been housing ten chickens in her backyard in Dollard Des Ormeaux for more than five years.
According to Dagenais, chickens do not need much in terms of maintenance. Just food, water, and shelter solid enough to protect them from predators.
“They live here all winter long, they are very well protected in their chicken coop.” Dagenais explained. “We learned quickly that we had to build them a more protected environment as our first structure was not strong enough to keep the racoons from taking the chickens.”
The Dagenais home is located along a bike path where the chickens have become a bit of an attraction.
“People stop and feed grass to the chickens and ask us permission to feed them things like rice cakes.” she said. “Now the chickens gather at the fence when someone approaches because they are expecting to be fed.”
Each chicken typically produces about one egg per day.
“We had too many eggs for our own consumption so we put up a sign offering fresh eggs and we have so many people interested,” Dagnais said, “I now have two regular families that take what we are not able to consume, if there are left over eggs I can always put the sign back up.”
“We have no male roosters so there is not a lot of noise,” she said, “we thought that Marie-Willy may have been a boy but as it turns out she is a girl and she was born right here. They do not make more noise than a dog or lawn mower and they never leave the yard.”
Dagenais also explained that a side benefit to having the chickens is that they eat Japanese beetles, which have been a threat to more than 250 species of plants since their arrival in Canada in 1939.
“We have a big backyard, and we have plenty of green vegetable plants growing, and we do not have to contend with the Japanese beetle.”
The Dagenais enjoy another benefit of only having to cut their grass in the backyard every two weeks, compared to the front that needs a cut every week.