Thanks for reading my thread. It is a long one, but I wanted to be thorough. Please help!
I could use some advice! Here's the scoop:
Can I keep chicks in my garage, for 6 weeks tops while they are in the brooder? My landlord says no.
I live in a very uppity little town in the Napa Valley. It's adorable, but snobby. A year and a half ago, my boyfriend rented an adorable little house with a huge backyard. I moved in part time and wanted to get chickens. Our landlord is an old woman who is very particular, and at first we thought it was kind of cute-- now she is a nightmare. We asked her permission to get chickens, and she told us we needed a permit. I contacted the county, went through all the motions, and told her so. We have everything documented via emails, etc. It turns out, we don't even need a permit-- but can only have a maximum of 6 chickens. No problem. The landlord informed us that she didn't want the chickens out of the enclosure at ANY TIME-- because there is a large Oak tree in the backyard and she said that the poop from the chickens would destroy the roots of the Oak tree. Whatever. Fine.
She comes to the house 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) to work in the front yard and water the backyard. I do not like this at all, but there was nothing I could do about it. She comes whenever she feels like it on those days (after we asked her for a schedule) and stays for hours at a time. Even if you are entertaining guests in the backyard, she will continue to water & be around. At one point we came home from work to find her in the yard, in the chicken enclosure, showing the chickens to one of her friends. She seemed to like them.
A year went by, and we were enjoying our chickens immensely. So much, that I started hatching more, and then giving the chicks away to new homes, selling some and donating the rest to school groups. It was awesome & something I was really passionate about. Keep in mind--these are Silkies and Bantam Polish. Tiny little guys. The maximum I had at one time was 15. Our neighbors (who are all vacation renters and change all the time) have all commented on how much they love the birds, and come over all the time to see them. We bring them eggs, and it has been a wonderful way to bond with the community.
2 weeks ago, she came to the house with a letter saying she had contacted the county because we were in violation of the law since we had more than 6 chickens. This is absolutely true. We did have more than 6 chickens, we had 12 because I was waiting for people to come pick them up. Unfortunately, I had a full incubator in the garage with a dozen eggs set to hatch in a week. We showed her the garage, and the incubator (which she flipped out about, but we told her they were already sold, they just needed to hatch) and told her we would get down to 6 chickens. She said she would be back the next morning with an inspector & the extra chickens needed to be gone. Despite our pleas, and even our neighbors pleas, there was no swaying her. I was distraught & heartbroken. We scrambled, and brought the extra chickens to our friends house.
She never showed up with the inspector. Ever.
So, were down to 6 chickens. She still comes 3 times a week & so she knows were down to 6. I have even been in the backyard when she comes over & she tries to make small talk about them. Wants to feed them watermelon with me. Ick.
My chicks hatched last week. All 12 of them. I wanted to wait until they were at least a week old before having people over to pick them up. 8 of them were already pre-sold. Since it is a holiday weekend, I arranged to have people come over on Friday and Sunday. Yesterday, I had an awesome couple come over to pick out their chicks. I put them in a plastic bin, and brought them outside. I had been keeping the chicks in the garage under a heat lamp & that's always were I keep my chicken supplies, etc. The landlord shows up while I am talking to my guests, and stays in the backyard watering for the entire time they are there. Very awkward & uncomfortable for everyone. They picked out their chicks (4 of them) and I told them to go ahead inside & I would bring the other bin into the garage & meet them inside. The landlord was still watering & I didn't want to just leave the chicks outside unattended, they were already freaking out.
About 5 minutes after my guests leave, the landlord rings the doorbell and starts in:
You cannot keep animals in the garage. It smells like a barn in there. It is against county regulations & you lied to me when you said you were only going to have 6 chickens. It went on and on. She said she's calling the county and every single one of the chickens has to be gone. All of them.
She asked if she could come into the garage & inspect. I told her no way.
So, here is my question:
Can she legally force us to remove all of our chickens?
At what age is a chick actually considered a full fledged chicken, after 6 weeks? No way.
Can I not keep chicks in my garage? They weigh ounces, not taking up space or noise.
I've checked all the county ordinances, and I think I am in the clear-- but it doesn't say specifically about keeping animals in the garage.
I want this woman off my back. We are moving in 2 months anyways, but I want to be prepared for the future. This has been a nightmare & I like to have a peaceful happy home.
Thank you again for reading my thread & any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Below is a photo of our coop aka "Silkie Palapa" so you can see what it looks like. It's not like its an eyesore.
Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!
Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!