Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chicken Fight

Do you realize I am intolerable?  Yes, yes.  And I am single-handedly wrecking home values and bringing disease to millions.  And I'm just generally icky.  Yes, you wouldn't believe the things I do.   

I . . . I . . . keep chickens. 

Last night, we attended a city council hearing on the keeping of chickens in my city. Currently, up to six hens are allowed, no roosters. Apparently, all it takes is one ridiculous citizen.  (No, not me.)  

My ridiculous, complaining neighbor found a couple of realtors to come to the hearing with her. They stood up and spoke about how backyard chickens will diminish home values and, therefore, should be banned. My neighbor, herself, waxed hysterical about salmonella run-off from our property, rabid animals being attracted, and just general "ickiness."

My husband and I sat there waiting to speak, feeling defeated and mischaracterized. Then, one by one, people began to file into the hearing room. First, a woman carrying an egg carton. Then someone with a basket full of eggs. Then a mother and son, both wearing bright yellow shirts saying: Poultry Club. Slowly, these people filled up the room. When it came time to speak, they formed a line behind the podium and took turns speaking for the next 90 minutes. We spoke as well. It was heartening to see so many people there to support us and the concept of pet chickens. The council will make their decision next month.

Either way, we will be able to keep our chickens due to a grandfathering clause. But that's not the point.

Whatever happened to "live and let live?" Whatever happened to neighborliness? How about kindness? What about tolerance? Or is that reserved only for the most violent among us?

One woman displayed a painting by her teenage son and read his accompanying poem. And then she expressed my sentiments perfectly. "We're all different. Of course we're going to step on each other's toes sometimes. Of course there is going to be something about me that may make your eyes roll. But we're all people. We live together and we live life together. Our differences are what make life interesting. Let's stop trying to make everyone the same."

I don't know what is becoming of the traditional individual. It seems to me we are all for diversity when it involves something very new, something never before tolerated, and that's great. But where is the tolerance for the more traditional among us? It seems those people are being asked to give over the things we most enjoy and hold dear and that ask far less of society in general.

Chickens? Chickens as pets? That's where we draw the line, I guess.

I would be discouraged, but for the amazing support of our local poultry club. They were prepared, eloquent, and impressive. Chicken keepers . . . articulate. Who'da thunk it?

She also regularly complains about laundry being hung out on the line.

Just try to take my clothespins, Honey!


Jenny S said...

Obviously she needs a life!! Complaining about laundry on a laundry line??? How dumb! Hang in there!!

Chicken Boys said...

Yeah Chicken People!! Maybe you should complain about her complaining! Doesn't that bother you?

tdjunkie said...

Chickens rule, continue the good fight

farmlady said...

"You get more bears with honey"? It goes something like that.
Anger feeds on itself and spreads.
Take her some fresh eggs and get to know her.

Chickens in the Basement said...

I'm so glad you didn't sit by quietly! I am amazed that one persons opinion can have such a huge effect on the rest of a town. If you need me to come and bring Cora and Skippy to help you prove how much a part of the family chickens can be, let me know. We'll take the act on the road!

(I just had a vision of me driving, Cora perched on my head rest and Skippy balancing on the steering wheel!)

Pixie said...

Anna, I had almost that same image in my head! lol.

Our neighbours complained that our chickens were causing flies. (For the record, we keep a very tidy chicken garden.) What the neighbour forgot to mention in their complaint is that the other neighbour has horses. When the council showed up to see what the complaint was about, all we had to do was show them the horses and they left.

susan said...

Chances are SOMETHING will make this person unhappy. Most people like that are lonely and unhappy. On the other hand, my friend has a rooster living 3 doors down. The rooster "wakes up" and crows around 3:30 or 4 every morning. She hasn't complained yet, but I can tell it's a struggle. I had a rooster as a pet as a child :) You could always get pigs instead :)

sissie said...

I just do not understand people that have nothing better to do than complain about other people's lifestyles!
I'm glad you have supporters and hopefully you'll keep your chickens.
As for the nosey neighbor, she should be ashamed.


John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

.......you should have slugged her......

then again perhaps not.....

great chicken blog......

Gail said...

Oh my goodness! You have chickens, how cool - I want some.

You should throw eggs at her house. Or maybe not. Just pretend.

LemonyRenee' said...

Just for the record, I have been very kind to this woman in the past. Right down to bathing her children when she was recovering from a c-section . . . while her husband was downstairs visiting with his parents. But she was always a taker. When she wouldn't even watch our goldfish while we traveled to Ukraine to adopt our daughter, I realized who I was dealing with.

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

What a sad lady to have to live next too. I am glad you had support from your community. Anger really hardens the heart and it is evident in your neighbors comment. ( I bet she felt silly after seeing everyone there for the chickens.)

Mumsy said...

I am glad there are people supporting you..

It must be embarrassing for her to go through that!

Anna Bartlett said...

That's amazing. I had never thought that people wouldn't WANT chickens. Good on you for fighting the good (and logical) fight!

Nancy K. said...

What a delightful and informative post! I enjoyed the comments as well. ;-) Thank goodness there is a groundswell of support for City dwellers keeping backyard chickens.

I love your blog ~ and your background design! I would like to put a link to your blog on mine...

LemonyRenee' said...

Thank you for all your kind and supportive comments. I would love to visit Nancy's blog, but her profile is blocked. Anyone know her?

Thanks, again.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Renee,

I have not been able to really follow the chicken situation, but I am glad there was community support for you in the end.

I still plan to have chickens in our backyard, minus the roaster.

Chickens aside for a moment, I could not believe that hanging laundry out to dry was a crime according to your neighbor. It is environmentally better, the laundry smells fresh and there is something about turning the clock back a little to when things were a little simpler, though harder.

Wishing you all the best,

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