While we live in a residential subdivision, it's not of the modern variety; houses are widely spaced and in the woods. We've got dirt roads, 1/2-10 acre lots, and about 400 houses built as far back as the 1930s right up through the current year, all intermingled. It's a nice community and people do look at for one another and each other's properties as well.
Hence, when we decided to get our first five chickens, we took the time to talk with the neighbors about it. Once we started getting eggs, we started sharing with them. Then we decided we wanted to get a rooster, and we put this decision before them as well (and made sure we told them what it would entail, e.g. crowing, and possibly a LOT of it). We also checked with local law enforcement regarding regs, etc. Everyone/thing was a go....until we actually got the rooster (Remy).
So while Remy has been an epic win with us, and hit it off perfect with the girls (since his full integration 2 weeks ago), we received a half-@$$ed complaint the other day that really has my DH and I stewing. Basically, kids screaming while at play instigates Remy crowing...when he hears them, he puffs and preens and flaps and crows. I even checked with a sound level meter right after we moved him out to the run/coop, because I wanted to make sure he wasn't breaching the noise ordinance (and he didn't/doesn't). So one afternoon, the kids were running and playing and driving Remy up the wall. Apparently, he bothered them, so they (five of them) ended up standing at their fence line (about 25 feet from ours because it's across a road, a good 50 feet from where the flock was free ranging) and started screaming at him over and over to "shut up".
Hearing the commotion, I came outside, saw what was going on and yelled back up to the kids "Hey! If you stop yelling at him, he'll stop crowing." It was funny, because you could've heard a pin drop in the space that followed. So their father (who we have a good rapport with and spoke with regarding acquiring Remy) ends up speaking with them and then coming down to talk to us.
He asked what happened and we explained, and he didn't argue or seem upset. He just commented that Remy crows a lot; he really doesn't (which surprised us from the start) - he crows at 5:45AM like clockwork, crowing 6-12 times then before repeating the routine about an hour or so later up until around 10:00AM. After that, he doesn't crow unless he thinks he hears crowing or something is bothering him (e.g. neighbor's dog in the yard). While I've been around roos before, this is the first that was ever mine, and I never knew they could be so quiet. Not to mention that we expressly explained to all neighbors that a roo MAY crow 24/7 and we wouldn't know what sort of bird we'd end up with, and they ok'ed it.
Well, when I pointed out that he really didn't crow all that much, the truth came out. His wife didn't like the crowing and wanted him to talk to us about it. His wife was apparently also influencing the kids, or as he put it "they're pretty much feeding off of her". I asked him how bad it was, as in, is he really that loud/noticeable from his property/house/inside. He said NO, but that they "could hear him". Uuuuhhh, ok, and??? I told him that the only thing that we could do was get rid of him. I really surprised him when I flat out asked if that's what I needed to do, to which he said that he had no right to ask me to do that and that I was well within my rights and the laws to have him (TRUE)....yet, more chatting and it kept coming around to Remy bothering his wife/kids, but that he figured they'd somehow just have to get used to it.
It's been almost a week since then, and it's been a trial. I know we don't have to and even shouldn't, but we cringe on the inside whenever he crows, worrying about "what the neighbors think" (and no, no one else has said anything about it). Two days ago, the kids were back at the fence yelling at him (and he yelled right back, of course). Fortunately, the kids quit and ran off as soon as they saw us coming.
My DH actually knows someone through work with a small flock. Turns out that they just lost their rooster to a hawk attack and are looking for another one (and one of the breeds they'd prefer for the replacement is what we've got). They've been keeping chickens for 25 years, have no neighbors to complain, no children to be a nuisance, and aren't located too far from us. They take care of their birds very well and offered to take Remy if we needed to find him a new home. They also offered to give us as many of his daughters as we'd want. My DH thinks we should take them up on the offer as he feels that our situation is currently a ticking time bomb that has a good potential to escalate to deteriorating community relations.
I don't think he's wrong, I just can't figure out what the actual risk of that is. If it becomes an issue too far out, we may not have anywhere to take him like we do now. We don't HAVE to do anything, though, but we also don't want to cause a problem. Then again, we never bother anyone and put up with their dogs (like their getting out and running loose on our property at least a few times per month, that we never made a big deal over - there's a reason our run is Fort Knox).
tl;dr - We love our new rooster, but our neighbor's hermit wife does not and their kids are making a fuss at him. We have the opportunity to re-home him in a very good place right now, but don't legally have to do any such thing, but don't want to potentiall fuel a stink with the neighbors. ARGH!!!
Edited by RedDrgn - 4/11/12 at 6:44am