I'm going to take on the man (actually "woman") for backyard chickens.

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by BubbaLikesIt, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. BubbaLikesIt

    BubbaLikesIt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2013
    I was an experienced chicken owner as a young boy and would like to have chickens again and have planned on this for sometime now. My city has rules and regulations about chickens that leave a few areas of the law very "grey" if you know what I mean. A chicken coop has to be at least 50 feet away from any bedroom window. Just bedroom windows? The chickens can't be too loud. Loud like rooster loud or "I just laid an egg" loud? You can't have too many chickens. This one I agree with, you really can't have too many chickens as far as I'm concerned. But here is the kicker, the way I read it and what I am told, your neighbors have about as much say in the matter as you do. If your neighbor complains about the chickens for whatever reason a city ordinance guy comes out and checks things out. If you meet the criteria and are following the rules he leaves you alone. But if your neighbor keeps complaining I hear that they will tell you to get rid of the chickens because it has become a hassel for them down at city hall. Some would say "give the ole hag some eggs" to keep her mouth shut but that won't work on this one, I'm going to need to get dirty and embarrass her with the city. This is the only way. Any ideas that doesn't include hitting her in the head with a shovel?
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I'd say multiple complaints would fall under the too loud criteria. At least that is how the council is verifying/justifying it.

    Are you saying you've spoken to your neighbors about chickens and one is non too cozy with the idea? Other than proving them wrong by getting chickens and keeping them from roaming off your property and cooped as far from their house as possible there is nothing else you can do. If they become persistent to city hall after then you'll have to fight city hall.

    Good Luck with it,

    Hopefully your neighbor comes to realize their ideas of chicken keeping were unjustified.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    First, have you checked your ZONING regulations? Specifically the permitted uses? Are poultry, fowl, chickens or hens listed as a permitted use?

    Verify the decibel level of noise from your birds at the property line closest to your neighbor's yard. Do this at several times of the day when they are crowing, making eggsong, just generally clucking, etc. Then compare the decibel level to noise level charts. Be proactive in proving that your birds are no more noisy than common neighborhood noises such as vacuum cleaners, cars backfiring, kids playing, etc. Or find out that your birds really are loud and find a means to alter that (sound-proofing their coop, for example).
  4. BubbaLikesIt

    BubbaLikesIt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2013
    @egghead_jr When I mentioned that the city permits backyard chickens with limitations she (my neighbor) just about had a cat right there. This woman is just like that, if she is not doing it, it just can't be done. I suspect she will be a problem but I don't want to alienate her completely, I would like to bring her around to my way of thinking. Maybe, send some "chicken" information to her home anonomously by mail and let her read on the subject. If I could make this her idea, it would make things a lot easier. Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  5. robertamiyeko

    robertamiyeko New Egg

    Jul 27, 2012
    If you know if she goes to farmer's markets or other community events you can bring your chickens for a show and tell and you can accidently run into her. I've found that when other people are ooing and awing it's hard to be mean and she might just accept it. My neighbors don't come out much from what i tell but they do like to call the city. At least in our case. The neighbors called the police about noise complaints (I'm one of those shy quiet asian ladies who doesn't make noise!) and when the police would come they would see how crazy they were and eventually gave them a warning that making complaints about things that are ok (our chickens are "legal" by distances and numbers that they could be given a ticket or arrested. We haven't heard a complaint about me sweeping, watering the garden or our chickens since then.

    I've found that you do need to have the a firm animal control person that is on your side and you need to know your codes well and keep within that framework and if it doesn't work for you work with the city to change things to make things more reasonable. It's not easy but the codes can protect simple pleasures like raising chickens as company and for eggs. Once they checked out our chickens the animal control people were firm and said that things were checked and that we are allowed to keep them.

    In the mean time I've tried hard to go to city meetings and meet our council members and look smart and as normal as possible so the other people look crazy when they say the smell is terrible and when the council people have already been on a coop tour and know that's not true it's a lot easier. Our council member happens to have had neighbors as a child who had chickens and he doesn't remember every hearing them or smelling so that helps alot. So he;s a supporter just by experience.

    so long winded but the upshot is get to know the people she might speak to who have some authority and get them on your side. It helps alot. When she says my neighbor has chickens, they just say, yes isn't that great, before she has a chance to complain.
  6. BubbaLikesIt

    BubbaLikesIt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2013
    @ robertamiyeko-- All very good ideas and you have given me an idea to start with. I know the lady who drives the truck that picks up stray dogs and cats (and foxes when necessary) and I am going to talk with her before I get going on this so I am prepared.
  7. BubbaLikesIt

    BubbaLikesIt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2013
    This is the revised rules on animals, fowls or birds in my city. It doesn't look good.

    6-2-11. Standards concerning the keeping of animals, fowls or birds.
    (A) No animals, fowls or birds shall be kept in a pen or corral (terms not applying to general pasture areas of 20,000 square feet or more) within 50 feet of any residence, dining room, sleeping room or other place of human habitation, other than the owner's, or within 100 feet of any private water well, except as otherwise permitted in Chapter 5 of this Title; provided, however, that such animals, fowls or birds may continue to be kept in any pen or corral which was erected and in which such animals, fowls or birds were kept prior to the annexation of any area into the City, if within 180 days from the date of said annexation application for a certificate of nonconformance with the provisions of this regulation shall be made and said certificate subsequently issued by the Midland city-county health department. Said certificate may only be obtained when an existing pen or corral where animals, fowls or birds are kept is closer than permitted to a place of human habitation or private water well, as provided herein, or where such pen or corral is so located with respect to the boundary line of the owner's property that a place of human habitation or water well could be located on an adjacent tract less than the said required minimum distance from said pen or corral.
    (B) The maintaining or keeping of all animals within the City shall be allowed, as stated above, only if the presence of noise, flies, mosquitos, insects, vermin, rodent harborage, odors, dust, ponded water, accumulation of manure, garbage, refuse or other obnoxious or putrescible material or any other objectionable matter or effect does not cause, create, contribute to or become a health nuisance and subject to the provisions of Title VIII, Chapter 7, of this City Code.
    (C) No swine shall be kept within the city limits, except as provided in Section 6-2-12.
    (D) The provisions of subsection (A) above shall not apply to the keeping of small household pets, to include but not be limited to dogs and cats.
    (E) The keeping of all animals within the City shall be subject to all pertinent regulations of the State of Texas.
    (F) It shall be unlawful, except as provided in Section 6-2-12 of this Chapter, for any person to keep, possess, or maintain any livestock or poultry within the city limits.
    (G) It shall be unlawful for any person, corporation, association, partnership or business to keep, possess, or maintain any ferret within the city limits unless a written statement from a licensed veterinarian has been submitted to the city enforcement agent or his authorized representative stating that the ferret is in good health and a permit has been issued by the city enforcement agent or his authorized representative for such ferret.
    (Ord. No. 5440, 2-13-1974; Ord. No. 5586, 5-13-1980; Ord. No. 6823, 4-26-1988)

    6-2-12. Area limitations and maintenance requirements for the keeping of livestock and poultry.
    (A) The provisions of Section 6-2-11(C) and (F) of this Chapter shall not apply to the following situations:
    1. Zoos, stock shows, fairs, animal judgings and shows, and circuses.
    2. Abattoirs, packinghouses or stockyards.
    3. Public school projects, when conducted upon school property and under faculty supervision.
    4. Facilities owned and used by a licensed veterinarian in connection with his practice of veterinary medicine.*

    *Cross references: See Sections 11-1-6 and 11-1-10(B) of this Code for zoning districts where veterinarian clinics and hospitals may be located.

    5. Guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, ducks or other animals or fowls of similar size which are kept entirely within an enclosed building, which building is of such design and material as to retain any noises or odors caused by such animals or fowls.
    6. Livestock (other than hogs or pigs) and poultry which are kept in compliance with the following requirements:
    (a) Horses or other equine animals, as a private stable (not for commercial purposes) and other livestock and poultry of a size described in subsection (A)5 may be kept on tracts of land with not less than 20,000 square feet dedicated exclusively for animal use in an "AE" Agriculture-Estate District.
    (b) Bovine animals may be kept for personal use (not for commercial purposes) on tracts of land with not less than 40,000 square feet dedicated exclusively for animal use in an "AE" Agriculture-Estate District.
    (c) Livestock and/or poultry may be kept for commercial purposes at farms, ranches or stables, as permitted by the use regulations of an AE Agriculture Estate Zoning District, or where a legal nonconforming business involving the keeping of livestock and/or poultry has been established and verified by a certificate of occupancy, obtained within 18 months of annexation into the City or a change in zoning which renders the business nonconforming, but only for the duration of said nonconforming status.
    (d) Regardless of whether livestock are kept for personal use or for commercial purposes, there shall be provided not less than 20,000 square feet of land area in the tract for each animal unit. The following animal unit values are to be assigned to livestock, except for small animals of a size described in subsection (A)5 above, in determining the number of animals which may be kept on a tract of land:
    Each lamb: One-fifth animal unit.
    Each goat: One-sixth animal unit.
    Each horse or other equine animal: One-half animal unit.
    Each cow or other large animal: One animal unit.
    Offspring of equine animals may be kept for a period of 18 months, and other livestock for a period of 12 months, after birth before being assigned any animal unit values.
    7. Guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, ducks or other animals or fowls of a similar size provided the total number of same kept per premises does not exceed four; provided, however, that the number limitation of four shall not apply to newborn offspring before they are weaned.
    (B) In connection with all of the above-described exceptions, the premises and facilities used for the keeping of animals and fowls authorized to be kept under any of the provisions of this Section must be kept in such a manner as to prevent the emission of odor or noise offensive to persons of ordinary sensibilities in the neighborhood or the existence of any nuisance dangerous to the public health. Also, any premises and facilities used for the keeping of animals or fowls authorized to be kept under any provision of this Section must be approved for such purpose by the Midland city-county health department.
    (Ord. No. 5586, 5-13-1980; Ord. No. 7867, §§ 1--4, 8-24-99)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by