Moments ago I sent off an email to my county's commissioners about amending the ordinance to allow chickens. Was quite a long email, i tried to give as many reasons as I could, and including counters to possible arguments. We'll see what happens x-x
Good job on all your hard work. Do you mind posting your letter you sent to the local government? I am in a similar boat. I live in the city and in 2008 it became illegal to own chickens. No one in the current government was around for this but no one is interested at this point in making the change. I am interested in your letter because cities around mine allow chickens (<10)
I live in a neighborhood of exotic pets -- big lizards, amazonian parrots, and a guy that walks around with his snake. I don't see the big deal of allowing 2-4 chickens on a property.
Alright! Some things in here may not apply to your situation, and I've not sent any sort of official letter before so it's a bit rough, but I hope it effectively gets the point across and ends up being effective. Here it is!
Subject: County Ordinance
Message: Hello, My name is [Name], a resident of Brandon, Florida, and I have a proposition for an ordinance for the county of Hillsborough. It is my understanding that the urban settings of Tampa and Plant City allow chickens in residential areas, classifying them as domestic animals, and setting certain specifications and restrictions, while in the more spread out areas of the county, like the area in which I reside, the birds are illegal. There are many benefits to having a small flock of these birds in private backyards, and there is a petition with over six-hundred signatures in favor of bringing chickens to residential areas.
These benefits include fresh eggs daily, pesticide-free pest control, free organic fertilizer for gardens, are easy to care for pets, and helping residential homes be more sustainable. While eggs are readily available at the supermarket, the eggs we purchase in stores may be up to two months old, the farmers have 30 days to get them to the supermarkets, and the supermarkets can keep them on the shelf for another 30 days, not to mention the conditions in which commercially raised chickens live in. Healthy chickens produce eggs with more nutrients, and many think taste better, and knowing the eggs you eat come from happy and healthy chickens brings peace of mind, as well as puts less money in the pockets of people who treat commercially raised chickens so poorly. Being omnivores, chickens love to forage for insects, and will eat insects, weeds, small lizards and snakes, and processing these things into fertilizer for the soil, making gardens more efficient. Being inexpensive to get and care for, chickens provide all of these things at quite a low cost, with the satisfaction of knowing where your food is coming from.
There are many factors to be aware of, a few of the larger worries other residents may have are the smells, the noise, and the destruction of property. With proper care and cleaning, the chickens don't produce a bad smell, if they do, this is likely due to poor care, and with proper care, disease can be easily avoided as well with proper hygiene and sanitation. As for noise, naturally only hens would and should be permitted, as is the case with the ordinances in Tampa and Plant City, who cluck quietly, and generally don't get louder than 20-40 decibels, which is about the same volume as conversational speech. Even crowing roosters are more silent than a barking dog, and unlike dogs, chickens do return to roost at night, they sleep from dusk until dawn, so they wouldn't be keeping neighbors up. As for the destruction of property, I refer to gardens and things that can be easily destroyed by chickens. This can be prevented by keeping the chickens restricted to a fenced area, either limited to the homeowners backyard, or a coop/run. Chickens free to wander neighborhoods should, of course, not be permitted.
These birds are much safer and less of a nuisance that domestic dogs, and even honeybees, which are legal to keep in backyards of residential zones. Neighboring counties, and even cities within our own county have approved this ordinance, and it could easily be applied to this county as well.
"We acknowledge your need for careful consideration of this matter, and trust that your examination will find multiple benefits for the citizens of Hillsborough County. We respectfully request your favorable action to amend county ordinances to provide for the keeping of backyard poultry in residential zones. " --[Link to petition]
Something I should have mentioned, is that hens lay eggs whether or not a rooster is present. Not everyone knows that.
I quoted the closing of the petition for two reasons, one, simply being I didn't know how to word it. The other being I wanted to include everyone who has signed the petition.
The only response I've gotten so far is from one of the commissioner's Aides [a few hours after I sent the email] , saying that my case has been submitted for review, and allow 3-4 business days for a response. Which is better than nothing!
thank you... if it ends up fruitless, I've just got to keep trying. it would certainly be disheartening, but I think there are enough people around that I could rally them up and start assaulting them with emails.... or something ^^'