Maine Chicken Laws/Ordinances- roosters? Please help!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by 77horses, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    I've been raising a small backyard flock of chickens on my property for the past couple of years and I live in Cumberland County, Maine. I have 4 hens, 2 roosters, and 9 baby chicks that just hatched (all of which are planned to be sold/given away soon). Only one of the roosters crows (the other one barely ever does, like literally since I've had him he's only crowed once or twice, he just doesn't). Everything has been fine and there weren't any laws for keeping chickens around here that I know of. We live in an area in the woods with nearby houses that are close, but far enough away that we can barely see them through the treeline (so they're not right next to us). I admit, one of the roosters does crow a lot at certain times of the day; we don't let them out until later in the morning, so his crowing his muffled because he's in a coop. We've never had a problem.
    Until now, anyways. Just yesterday, we got a call from the local police dept. about a complaint from one of the neighbors regarding the rooster crowing. Apparently, the law was just put in place last July. A police officer came over to talk to us about it and show us the papers, and he said normally he would fine us for it but he didn't since it's a fairly new law that we didn't know about. But he said that the roosters had to go as soon as possible.

    Honestly, I'm pretty upset about this. [​IMG] The rooster that I have now (named Ivory, as some of you might know him as based on my thread) I hatched and raised myself. He was a house rooster for most of the first year of his life. He follows me around and he's always been my little baby that I cared for myself until he was big enough to have his own flock of hens. It makes me want to cry to not be able to see him come running out to me every morning and getting to say goodnight when I put them in for the night. My dad has a flock of chickens about an hour away that he could possibly go live with, but I would barely ever seen him and I'm not even sure if he'll be able to go there. But that's my only option as of right now, besides giving him away to a stranger, which I honestly can't bear to do. I know it sounds dumb but I've just grown so attached to him. [​IMG] Those of you who keep chickens as pets and have had a house chicken know exactly what I'm talking about.

    Please, if anyone can give me any ideas as to what I can do about this, please let me know. I'm honestly tempted to secretly keep him as a house rooster, but I couldn't do that to him; he loves being outside with his flock and he wouldn't be as happy. I really care about him and want to keep things the way they are but I know I need to think about what's best for him at the same time.

    Thank you for anyone who can offer any help. [​IMG]
     
  2. chickenneighbor

    chickenneighbor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there any way you can ask for a variance? Seems that since you had your roo prior to the law being passed, he should be grandfathered in??Just a thought. Good luck.
     
  3. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    I'm not sure, possibly but not likely. It's worth a shot though I guess. Thank you!
     
  4. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely ask for a variance. I thoroughly understand what you are going through. My kids hand picked four bantam chicks from a straight run this spring. We also purchased three standard pullets at the same time. Two of the bantams turned out to be roosters. We dearly love them. We haven't any ordinances against chickens/roosters but do have a noise ordinance that is pertinent to excessive barking, howling, or crowing. We have a fairly open coop (hardware cloth on two sides), and neighbors in close proximity. For the past three months, I've been bringing the roosters in at 5:00 AM and letting them crow in the utility room. They have food, water, and a roost in there. We love to hear them! Lately, however, when they go out to greet the flock every morning at about 8:00 they crow. They crow throughout the day, as well. It's marvelous to me, but not to everyone around us..... -very tough decision to make. I've shed a few tears at the thought of them not being a part of our flock any longer. They have been a precious part of our home since they were tiny chicks in a brooder box in my daughter's bedroom. -have been carried around by her, daily (and brought into the house as well).

    -best of luck on attempting to seek a workable solution! I certainly hope that you get to keep your beloved roosters, and a variance can be granted to you!
     
  5. puglady

    puglady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Check Maines "Right to Farm" laws. Here's a link to a resource. http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/righttofarm/maine.pdf
    In many states Farms are protected from town nuisance ordinances so long as the Farm has been in existance for a certain length of time and there have been no significant changes to this. I'm going through something similar with my town. My neighbor complained, I was about to be issued a letter regarding this and quoted them our state RTF law as well as a NH Supreme Court case that backed me up. Its been almost a month and the town has yet to issue the noise complaint to me. Good Luck!
     
  6. real_redhead

    real_redhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good Luck I would definitely check to see if he is grandfathered in! I can't imagine that there isn't a grandfather clause but with what's going on with the government who knows. My dad and stepmom live in Damariscotta and keep chickens, I love Maine!

    I know how you feel about you roo, I love all my PET chickens, a neighbor was over the other day wanting to see the girls and I was talking to them in my "Baby" voice and she thought it was hilarious, what can I say they are my feathered kids! GOOD LUCK!!!
     
  7. real_redhead

    real_redhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good Luck I would definitely check to see if he is grandfathered in! I can't imagine that there isn't a grandfather clause but with what's going on with the government who knows. My dad and stepmom live in Damariscotta and keep chickens, I love Maine!

    I know how you feel about you roo, I love all my PET chickens, a neighbor was over the other day wanting to see the girls and I was talking to them in my "Baby" voice and she thought it was hilarious, what can I say they are my feathered kids! GOOD LUCK!!!
     
  8. Ladyjewels

    Ladyjewels New Egg

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    You use these chickens for agriculture purpose,,,eggs/insect control,,,and you support these chickens with your own money,,technically you don't need a special permit or lic..And the ordinance Windham is trying to push through isn't itched in stone,,they have not had public hearing or vote...For a town to have an ordinance put forward it has to go to town vote.....And since you've had the chickens the whole time,,YOU ARE GRANDFATHERED!! What is Windham going to do,,tell all the farmers in Windham they can't have their birds,,,gmafb....
     
  9. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    I talked with the police about it more today and mentioned the whole thing about being grandfathered in and possibly getting a variance...Apparently, the ordinance used to be that you could keep 1 chicken as a pet (didn't specify whether it be a rooster or hen), until last July, when 5 council members got together and voted to change the ordinance to allow you to own 8 chickens, but they must all be hens. There was no town vote, but the 5 members apparently had the authority to vote on it for themselves and obviously they were all in favor for the new ordinance. The ordinance has been passed, but it doesn't actually go into effect until this Friday. Which means, technically, if I had ONLY had Ivory for the past 2 years and no other adult chickens (a.k.a one chicken as a pet, like the old ordinance said), then he would have been grandfathered in. But due to the fact that I also have had several other chickens during the old ordinance (which I was completely unaware of...I just assumed that chickens were allowed to be kept as pets in my area), apparently he's not grandfathered in.
    One solution that I came up with that could possibly work is to get a license for a poultry facility. In order to do so, I would need to pay $400 (which I really don't have to spend right now), go before court to have it approved, etc...Then I could have as many roosters as I wanted. That's the only exception I've found so far that could work though, other than possibly working out something with the neighbors responsible for the complaint, which isn't currently possible because the police can't disclose that information to us. [​IMG]

    Thank you all for the replies! Please keep offering any ideas you can!
     

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