I just sent this letter to NewYorkState Dept of Agriculture

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by Carolyn252, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    Is there any aspect of NYS's right to farm law that will allow New York State residents to keep chickens on their property?

    My local municipality is the incorporated Village of Freeport. The Freeport Municipal Code allows 2 hens per household, and prohibits the following four items: chickens running at large, unreasonable noise, defecating on public property, presence of any live roosters.

    My property is 21,761 square feet; I would like to increase my flock to eight hens.

    My chickens are all female, kept in a weather-proof, sturdy and attractive coop, the coop is free-standing within a predator-proof fenced run; deep-litter method of sanitary management of all chicken poop is strictly adhered to; there are NO nuisance factors ever: no odors, flies, vermin, or noise. The coop is in my backyard and is not visible from the street, or by any of my neighbors.

    Living space for my hens is significantly above the generally accepted best-practices guidelines, (said guidelines for standard breeds are 4 square feet per bird inside the coop and 10 square feet of space per bird outdoors in the run.

    My chickens are kept to provide eggs for my family's table. I have submitted a written request, along with supporting papers, to the Village asking for a variance to allow me to keep eight hens. In case the request is denied, I'd like to know now, if the New York State Right-To-Farm Act can in any way support my appeal.

    Would claiming an intent to sell the eggs allow protection under the Right-To-Farm laws?

    Thank you.
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I wish you luck. To be honest, I don't think I would have admitted that I am already in violation of the "2 hens per household" law, but rather, would have worded it as "my proposal is to keep 8 hens.....yada yada". Hopefully that won't cause any problems for you. But wow, 2 hens? I've never heard of such a low number - 3 is a more common minimum. I would hate to have just two because if something happens to one, the other is a lonely old hen. Hopefully they will see their way to allowing your 8 and increase the minimum to 3 or more.
     
  3. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    Quote:Thank you for your reply and good wishes, but you've confused me mightily. I did not admit that I am "already in violation of the 2 hens per household law"; I said that I have 2 hens, and since 2 hens ARE allowed, I haven't admitted to any violation.
     
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank you for your reply and good wishes, but you've confused me mightily. I did not admit that I am "already in violation of the 2 hens per household law"; I said that I have 2 hens, and since 2 hens ARE allowed, I haven't admitted to any violation.

    Honestly, it's not the job of the Dept. of Ag. to police local zoning violations, so even if you HAD told them you're in violation, they probably wouldn't care, maybe they would point it out and suggest you conform, but I don't think they would run to the local code enforcement officer and blab.

    The Ag people overall probably deal with a lot of code enforcement people that are uninformed and hostile to Ag, so probably there isn't a great deal of love there, anyway.

    Wouldn't worry about that one bit.

    Good luck, I hope it helps.

    What does your NY RTFA say specifically?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  5. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    Quote:It's on the web as a pdf file and goes on for pages and pages and pages. Impossible for me to figure it out. Mostly the impression I get is that the Act only pertains to land within areas designated as Agricultural and furthermore the "farm" has to gross thousands of dollars a year. I don't remember the exact amount, but it was something like $50,000. And also it designated that the area has to be not less than some huge amount of acreage. I don't think it's of any relevance to my suburban backyard situation. But I thought I'd write and see if they could make it clear.
     
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Quote:Thank you for your reply and good wishes, but you've confused me mightily. I did not admit that I am "already in violation of the 2 hens per household law"; I said that I have 2 hens, and since 2 hens ARE allowed, I haven't admitted to any violation.

    I apologize if I misunderstood. To me, the letter sounded like you already HAVE 8 hens and are now seeking approval to keep them.

    My chickens are all female...My chickens are kept to provide eggs for my family's table....

    Generally if one were talking about just two hens, they would word it more like "my chickens are both female..." instead of "are all female". See what I mean?

    I would have worded it differently to say "My chickens will all be female" and "My chickens will be kept to provide eggs..." to ensure they don't think I already have that many.​
     
  7. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I know some states' RTF laws have been added to, to incorporate things that were never intended to be in them.

    Right to Farm laws were inacted to protect farmers and ranchers from being hit with frivolous lawsuits by city people wanting moving to the country and live the country life, but then not liking the sounds, dust and smells that go along with farming and suing long time farmers. They honestly were not developed to help someone keep chickens in town.
     

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