How to make a winning case for BYCs?

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
894
1,980
226
Ontario
So, the town I'm in is changing its zoning laws, and my property is on the list to be deemed simply residential instead of residential with exceptions (my acre is cut off of a larger farmstead, so it was zoned to allow low impact non commercial agriculture waaay back when) which means theres a huge chance to fall into the no chickens category. While there are some ways I can possibly get the council to work with me, I have some concerned neighours who don't have similar outs and others still that would like the right to raise chickens. I have one couple who moved from our provinces capital city with their 4 beautiful hens; where they were legally allowed to raise BYCs; to our tiny town of just over 2400 people in the beautiful countryside far from what you could ever consider a city only to find out BYCs aren't permitted in our town proper. It doesn't matter if your only neighbours are potato fields and a train track, no chickens. It doesn't matter if your property is 3x as big as it was in the city, no chickens. In fact, there's only roughly 10% of the backyards here that wouldn't be ideal to house chickens in.... not ideal for a dog either, and people are allowed to do that! My point being is most lots are large, most fenced and and half the town has to deal with the constant noise from the only industry in town, a metal grating company that punches out steel all day, I cant see how chicken noise would even factor in in comparison to their racket, and they don't even require a barrier fence despite being surrounded by residential zones!

Ahem.. pardon the rant. :duc

Annnnnnyway... A few neighbours asked me to set up a Facebook group we could use to collect the people who might be interested in the area and help put together a survey to see what people's concerns about chickens really are and how they think a byc pilot program should be run if we could get the council to even look at considering it. The council had put out a survey some years ago that no one knew they put out and announced at a council meeting that there was no interest in chickens one way or another since no one knew it was there and the ones that did couldn't navigate the town site to find it, so it wasn't a topic they deemed worthy to talk about, had a quick speech from the commercial egg farmers association rep and that poor fellow who brought the topic before the council originally was told to sit down and keep his mouth shut with out being able to say a single word, his request was denied, he had no more right to speak as they were moving on to other topics. :mad:
The council can be quite dismissive.

Again, I digress... this is why I'm having problems I'm jumping all over the place with my thoughts and as you can tell, I have issues keeping on topic when I feel passionate about something. 😅

What I would like help with is:

1) Help writing an intro into why we should be allowed to keep chickens in our yards. Throw some suggestions at me about why you think this should be okay.

(I think our goal is simple - to the educate the worried uninformed and to catch the attention of our town council in a positive light.)

2) Help me come up with a list of survey topics and questions.
  1. Are You interested in BYCs yes/no
  2. Should people be allowed?
  3. If no, why not?
  4. What reasonable rules should council put in place?
  5. Would you be interested in taking part in an education session about chickens, proper husbandry and... other stuff
  6. All the other suggestions that I'm coming up blank with.


Please, please help me gather my thoughts and share your own, be my focus group! I would really appreciate all your insight and advice. Of course feel free to play the devil's advocate too!

If I take a step toward approaching the town council, I would really like to not look like the town dunce in the process, so I could really use the BYC Collective Brains and living libraries!

Thanks to any of you that can share your thoughts assist me in getting off the ground on this..I so badly want this to go right for some of my friends and neighbours and myself should they succeed in ruling against me... I've had my reds for years, and I just got started branching out with new breeds, and I'm just as in love with my chickens as I am my dogs, I won't be giving them up easily, and I'd like to be proactive about this!

Thank you again, you're a splendid bunch of smart cookies!
 
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Kusanar

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 30, 2014
3,128
7,585
426
Roanoke area, Va.
Ok, I'm probably not the best for helping with this, but, I do live in a city (real city) that allows chickens so I can tell you what the rules are here and you can kind of use that as a starting point.

We are not allowed roosters, we are only allowed up to 10 hens, they have to be contained (no free ranging, though people do free range in some areas), the entire chicken area has to be a certain distance from all dwelling places and another certain distance from all property lines (so, you can't put your coop right on the line even if the house is at the other end of the plot).

You need to have something in there about how to handle feeding and manure to not attracts rats (feed) and bugs / smell from the manure.

I agree that it is really stupid to have rules about that if you are on a decent plot of land, when I was a kid, my parents and I were looking at farms that I could put my horses on, we were looking at 300 acres out in the middle of nowhere.... that had a no livestock rule..... yeah...

As for your plot specifically, my advice is to make sure if you have a current limit to the number of birds that you can have, that you stock exactly to that limit and don't let the numbers go down any right now. My understanding of zoning changes is that plots that still have livestock on them when the zoning is changed will be "grandfathered in" (apparently that term is racist and I apologize but I don't know a better one) and as long as they still have livestock on them, they will continue to be ok to do so, but if the stock ever leaves (and the powers that be notice) then the plot will be immediately re-zoned to match the surrounding area. So, if you make sure you have the max number of chickens you can currently have, they should allow you to continue AT THAT LEVEL until you no longer do. If you are allowed 10 and you only have 5, there is a chance that they can reduce you to 5 as the limit but still allow that level if that makes sense.
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
894
1,980
226
Ontario
Thank you so much, @Kusanar
Knowing how other cities work helps give me an idea of how toss structure some of the rule suggestions. At the moment I don't have a limit as long as things are clean and no one has a smell or noise complaint, but I'm sure they'll want to turn my flock of 14 into a flock of 6 if I gave them half the chance... which I won't! I'm not sure there is another term for grandfathering and if there is, I unfortunately don't know it off hand, but that's my goal personally, I think they might be semi reasonable about it. Fingers crossed, anyway :fl
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
894
1,980
226
Ontario
Try a Power Point (PP). You can look them up if you want. According to my knowledge, it proves that people are attracted to odd numbers, specifically the number 3. Good luck!

Everyone loves a good show! I'll have to do some research, but I'll be sure to stick in pics of 3 pretty birds every chance I can to see if that helps brain wash them :lol:
 

NatJ

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Mar 20, 2017
10,461
23,484
846
USA
Given how many other kinds of pets people sometimes want to keep (dogs and cats, rabbits and guinea pigs and hamsters, snakes and lizards and tarantulas, mini-pigs and mini-horses and mini-goats, parrots and canaries and finches...), maybe you could convince them to have a general structure that does not address any species in particular.

That would probably consist of:
--no animals at large. (No loose dogs, no loose chickens, no loose snakes...)
--noise ordinance (may already exist: would apply to dogs, lawnmowers, chickens, etc.)
--smell or nuisance ordinance (may already exist: would apply to any stinky-animal-poop situation, also may cover things like junk cars or anything else that's generally unsightly or hazardous.)
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
894
1,980
226
Ontario
Given how many other kinds of pets people sometimes want to keep (dogs and cats, rabbits and guinea pigs and hamsters, snakes and lizards and tarantulas, mini-pigs and mini-horses and mini-goats, parrots and canaries and finches...), maybe you could convince them to have a general structure that does not address any species in particular.

That would probably consist of:
--no animals at large. (No loose dogs, no loose chickens, no loose snakes...)
--noise ordinance (may already exist: would apply to dogs, lawnmowers, chickens, etc.)
--smell or nuisance ordinance (may already exist: would apply to any stinky-animal-poop situation, also may cover things like junk cars or anything else that's generally unsightly or hazardous.)

I do like the pet angle a lot, as my girls are friends foremost and providers of eggs secondly... which I would have never guessed when I got into chickens years ago for the simple reason of believing commercial egg farms were hell for chickens and unnecessary. The fact the council refused to listen to a citizen and got the opinion of a commercial egg farmer instead worries me some, so the pet angle might be exactly the right button to press. Egg farmer guy says theres plenty of egg farms around so no one needs their own chickens, and no, your not allowed to see how commercial hens are kept. :he

And those are all great items for the rule list!
 

NatJ

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Mar 20, 2017
10,461
23,484
846
USA
Oh, I forgot one point:
--fences/buildings. There is probably already some rule that covers fences, and one that covers sheds/gazebos/playhouses/dog houses. If it just limits how many buildings, what size, and where they can be located on the lot, it would perfect. No need for extra setbacks for animal housing, if there are separate noise and smell rules.
 

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