Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Fights On

The saga continues.

Last Monday, when we returned home after the city council meeting, there was a message on our answering machine from a reporter for the local paper. He had been watching the proceedings on television and now felt compelled to write a feature on it. He wanted to come out the next morning -- at dawn -- to get some pictures of the chickens, their coop, and our family.

Now. You chicken owners who are experiencing the end of winter know, things are not in tip-top shape out there right now. They are, of course, good enough to keep the chickens happy and healthy, but to someone with a critical eye, it might not be idyllic. So I, my husband, and my son were up and out there before dawn cleaning and sprucing up. The hens slept right through it. (Try that with a dog!)

The sun came up, the reporter came, and took many pictures and asked many questions. By the time he'd left, he'd been charmed, a bit, by the lovely little girls eating out of my kids' hands and seemingly posing for pictures. As he left, we teased and chided that he should write an opinion piece (in favor of city chickens). He explained that he just may do that, if and when the city would find against keeping chickens.

The paper arrived last evening. The front page sports a huge picture of my son feeding the chickens:

 Now, who can resent this?

As thrilling as it was to see our story on the front page, I can't believe how things are so quickly getting big and loud and out of control.  

Anyway, my next step is to research the impact of chicken keeping on property values of neighboring properties.  We have 10 days to submit additional items to be considered in this matter.  I intend to do just that.

But the thing that keeps ringing in my head is the right of the individual.  I am not breaking any laws, rules, or regulations.  There are no neighborhood rules against this.  I happen to have on obsessive neighbor who has been mad at me for years.  And so I am put in the position of having to beg and plead for the ability to do what I want on my property.  

My property.  


bad penny said...

have I missed something - are you having problems with neighbours ?

I'm in a semideatched house - I did tell the neighbours we were getting hens & I was very apologetic when the hens went to visit and I sorted it out very quickly & gave some egg presents !

Some old houses have a covenant against hen keeping - ours was a farm laberours style house though the farm never owned it. I imgine everyone back then kept hens.
Down the road where there is a huge housing estate - it was once a chicken farm !

Sorry you are having trouble & bad feeling - it's a delicate relationshio the one with neighbours

Chicken Boys said...

Sounds like a five-letter word, to me, of the female dog persuasion. Insanity, I say. There'd be trouble in my little neighborhood if someone tried that. First, I live out of city limits. Second, there are several people on my little road that own chickens. Third, some of the ones who don't have chickens get eggs from those of us who do! I wish you the best of luck, and hope something as cock-a-mamie as keeping poultry doesn't turn into a senseless slug fest!

LemonyRenee' said...

Penny -- I linked to the previous post in the bolded "city council meeting." I wish Blogger would make the links look more like links.

We did discuss it with all neighbors, but her. She is an obsessive nut who calls the city about any and everything. No need to make her think she has veto power over our choices any more than she already does.

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

Keep on fighting! Good luck!

Di in Indiana said...

You said you were "grandfathered" in, right? If the city does decide against allowing chickens, your chickens are protected with the grandfather clause, and it won't effect your chickens, correct? Good luck. You are right about this time of year not being a good time to take pictures of ANYTHING outside.

LemonyRenee' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LemonyRenee' said...

Re-posting above-deleted comment -- I forgot to proofread before posting:

Di -- Yes, we will keep our chickens either way, for now. But my neighbor is fighting so hard, I suspect there is a long term plan in which this is merely the first step. Also, just because "I got mine," doesn't mean I shouldn't stand up for other people's rights to "have," too. Miss you!

Roseanna said...

Oh, I hope you can keep your chickens!
I have been begging my husband for years about chickens...fresh eggs....sigh!

Mumsy said...

Tell your neighbor to move, Renee'..If chickens devalued the property, then I think dogs and cats are too.

I don't have any pets at the moment, but neighbors' cats have been dropping their craps all over my garden after digging holes..

Di in Indiana said...

Oh, I hope you don't think I meant to imply that you didn't need to fight for the rights of others to keep their chickens. I think it is admirable that you are doing so. I just wanted to make sure your little brood were safe. Good luck!!

You know, there is a retired fire truck and a pickup truck sitting in the driveway across the street from my house (sigh), that never move (against city code). I don't like it, but I never complain. Everyone on our cul-de-sac just minds their own business.....and I like it that way.

June said...

Boy Rene, I would be your dream neighbor, cause we live next to a family who keep 4-H pigs,(now that stinks)and they live with us owning and housing our six horses next to them. We co-exist happily ever after.
I hope it all goes in your favor, which no doubt it will, because like you have are breaking no laws. Good luck, Chicken Momma!

Liz said...

Renee' I find that the people that scream the most about tolerance are the ones that are most intolerant. In your case it sounds to me like you have done everything you can, to do the right thing. You aren't breaking any laws and the chickies are healthy and happy right? This neighbor is always going to find something to pick on. You aren't going to make her happy. We don't have chickens but if our weeds poke through the rocks our homeowners association is right there to slap us with a $25 fee. Nice! Right? America is changing... Sad to say.
Okay...I'm off my soap box.Sorry!:)

Send me some fresh eggs! :)


Nancy K. said...

Keep fighting the good fight, Renee! I think it's great that you're going into battle not just for yourself but so that others can enjoy the company of chickens in their backyards!

Chickens in the Basement said...

Good move! Your article in the paper will garner lots of support for you and the girls. You could always paint your house peptobismal pink and hook up lots of bright lights. It will make chickens seem like a dream!


Cottage Panache Antqs Blog said...

The neighborhood adjacent to my store has farm life animals such as chickens, goats, llamas, horses, and who knows what else. I think it's cool. I live in the DFW area and within city limits. It doesn't keep the usual hawk, silver fox, racoon, possum and even roadrunners from entering my yard. Again ~ just cool! I have one of those neighbors! My son was raking lawns in the neighborhood for extra money and on one morning as I drove off to take him to school, I spied our rakes strewn about our yard and one at the edge of the street near their yard. My son said that he didn't leave them their and as were running late I said I would pick them up when I returned. I came back and couldn't see the rakes. The couple next door was out in their driveway and I asked if they had seen the rakes. And he replied Oh were those yours? I put them with my trash and someone must have come by and taken them! Well of course these SWEET (not) neighbors knew that they were ours! I don't understand how people can be so mean and rude. If they are not happy they don't want to see anyone else enjoying themselves! It looks like the only animal that seems to have free range is of the feline kind.
What's up with that? I hope it all turns out right for you.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

My dear Renee,

I am so very sorry that I have not been by for so very long.

When I read your post I could not understand why someone has to do this, but then I can.

WHen we moved into our house more than 10 years ago, I started planting trees on the side of the house and our neighbor made a huge case out of this. I then moved the trees to the other side.

I do not regret having done this but at the same time this is our house and not his.

I still plan on having chickens as you know, but to play it save I am going to ask my neighbors just to get an idea as to their position, but will end up doing what I want.

I hope there will be some resolution for you as we certainly do on not need the stress.

Warmest regards,

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