Managing Flock = Managing Neighbors? (Resolution in Post#21)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RedDrgn, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,311
    34
    171
    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    While we live in a residential subdivision, it's not of the modern variety; houses are widely spaced and in the woods. We've got dirt roads, 1/2-10 acre lots, and about 400 houses built as far back as the 1930s right up through the current year, all intermingled. It's a nice community and people do look at for one another and each other's properties as well.

    Hence, when we decided to get our first five chickens, we took the time to talk with the neighbors about it. Once we started getting eggs, we started sharing with them. Then we decided we wanted to get a rooster, and we put this decision before them as well (and made sure we told them what it would entail, e.g. crowing, and possibly a LOT of it). We also checked with local law enforcement regarding regs, etc. Everyone/thing was a go....until we actually got the rooster (Remy).

    So while Remy has been an epic win with us, and hit it off perfect with the girls (since his full integration 2 weeks ago), we received a [email protected]$$ed complaint the other day that really has my DH and I stewing. Basically, kids screaming while at play instigates Remy crowing...when he hears them, he puffs and preens and flaps and crows. I even checked with a sound level meter right after we moved him out to the run/coop, because I wanted to make sure he wasn't breaching the noise ordinance (and he didn't/doesn't). So one afternoon, the kids were running and playing and driving Remy up the wall. Apparently, he bothered them, so they (five of them) ended up standing at their fence line (about 25 feet from ours because it's across a road, a good 50 feet from where the flock was free ranging) and started screaming at him over and over to "shut up".

    Hearing the commotion, I came outside, saw what was going on and yelled back up to the kids "Hey! If you stop yelling at him, he'll stop crowing." It was funny, because you could've heard a pin drop in the space that followed. So their father (who we have a good rapport with and spoke with regarding acquiring Remy) ends up speaking with them and then coming down to talk to us.

    He asked what happened and we explained, and he didn't argue or seem upset. He just commented that Remy crows a lot; he really doesn't (which surprised us from the start) - he crows at 5:45AM like clockwork, crowing 6-12 times then before repeating the routine about an hour or so later up until around 10:00AM. After that, he doesn't crow unless he thinks he hears crowing or something is bothering him (e.g. neighbor's dog in the yard). While I've been around roos before, this is the first that was ever mine, and I never knew they could be so quiet. Not to mention that we expressly explained to all neighbors that a roo MAY crow 24/7 and we wouldn't know what sort of bird we'd end up with, and they ok'ed it.

    Well, when I pointed out that he really didn't crow all that much, the truth came out. His wife didn't like the crowing and wanted him to talk to us about it. His wife was apparently also influencing the kids, or as he put it "they're pretty much feeding off of her". I asked him how bad it was, as in, is he really that loud/noticeable from his property/house/inside. He said NO, but that they "could hear him". Uuuuhhh, ok, and??? I told him that the only thing that we could do was get rid of him. I really surprised him when I flat out asked if that's what I needed to do, to which he said that he had no right to ask me to do that and that I was well within my rights and the laws to have him (TRUE)....yet, more chatting and it kept coming around to Remy bothering his wife/kids, but that he figured they'd somehow just have to get used to it.

    It's been almost a week since then, and it's been a trial. I know we don't have to and even shouldn't, but we cringe on the inside whenever he crows, worrying about "what the neighbors think" (and no, no one else has said anything about it). Two days ago, the kids were back at the fence yelling at him (and he yelled right back, of course). Fortunately, the kids quit and ran off as soon as they saw us coming.

    My DH actually knows someone through work with a small flock. Turns out that they just lost their rooster to a hawk attack and are looking for another one (and one of the breeds they'd prefer for the replacement is what we've got). They've been keeping chickens for 25 years, have no neighbors to complain, no children to be a nuisance, and aren't located too far from us. They take care of their birds very well and offered to take Remy if we needed to find him a new home. They also offered to give us as many of his daughters as we'd want. My DH thinks we should take them up on the offer as he feels that our situation is currently a ticking time bomb that has a good potential to escalate to deteriorating community relations.

    I don't think he's wrong, I just can't figure out what the actual risk of that is. If it becomes an issue too far out, we may not have anywhere to take him like we do now. We don't HAVE to do anything, though, but we also don't want to cause a problem. Then again, we never bother anyone and put up with their dogs (like their getting out and running loose on our property at least a few times per month, that we never made a big deal over - there's a reason our run is Fort Knox).

    tl;dr - We love our new rooster, but our neighbor's hermit wife does not and their kids are making a fuss at him. We have the opportunity to re-home him in a very good place right now, but don't legally have to do any such thing, but don't want to potentiall fuel a stink with the neighbors. ARGH!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,619
    3,201
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    That's a tough situation. I understand wanting to keep good relations with the neighbors. To me, human relationships are far more important than an animal. On the other hand, it sounds like the wife has the potential to be a problem no matter what you do. People like that make me want to be a little bucky and do my own thing in spite of them (or maybe to spite them). Encouraging her little darlings to stand at the fence and yell at your rooster, causing you to yell at them isn't endearing them to you, or you to them (I can imagine the conversation over there. Wife to husband: "They keep yelling at the kids, you have to go talk to them!"). Maybe you can make allies out of the kids. Next time they yell at your rooster, go over to the fence and calmly talk to them. Maybe have them ask their mom if they can come over and help you take care of the chickens now and then. Younger visitors to my farm love to pick eggs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Miss717

    Miss717 Chillin' With My Peeps

    135
    52
    151
    May 5, 2011
    Rushville, NE
    x2 Good suggestions bobbi-j
     
  4. weimlikeschicks

    weimlikeschicks Out Of The Brooder

    52
    1
    33
    Mar 21, 2012
    These are tough situations, but like you said technically you're covered. I'd not get rid of your roo, but instead take bobbi-j's advice and try to engage the children. Kids do love animals lol

    Plus (and don't take this in a negative, malicious sort of way) by endearing the kids to your flock and yourself, you'll be isolating the mom on this issue and hopefully help her see that she might be a bit unreasonable. I think with some tact and creative thinking this could become a positive, maybe you will even get their children excited enough and they can get their own chickens :)
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,619
    3,201
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    After giving it some thought, I'd like to change my suggestion of having the kids ask their mom if they can come help with the chickens. I think you should talk to the dad instead. He may be more likely to let them do it.
     
  6. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,311
    34
    171
    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Actually, we made the suggestion about the kids visiting/helping with the chickens several months ago (because we thought they'd get a kick out of it), but they've never taken us up on it. I also made that suggestion to the father the day after the first yelling incident. Additionally, we've offered eggs. They've never flat out refused anything, but we just get the sheepish smile and semi-laugh and the "maybe we'll have to do that some time", to no avail.

    I also don't think the wife was instigating them yelling at Remy. He just made it sound like she was flustered with him and complaining and that they were feeding off of that and translating it to their behavior. We don't know the kids real well, but we've interacted with them in the past and have had no issues. The father actually came down with both sons and asked to see Remy the same day that we brought him home. The youngest had heard him crow and wanted to see him; he was excited to be able to do so, though a bit shy. The older boy was interested as well, neither seemed adverse to him (or his crowing) at the time.

    As a little background information, my DH and I have lived at our current location for 5 years now, and we've never met the referenced wife; never exchanged a single word with her. We've caught glimpses of her out in the yard, but that's usually at over 40 feet and through trees and brush. Even when we've been over there talking to the husband or the kids on occasion, she was never anywhere to be found, so we literally know next to nothing about her. It's kind of weird, but we like our privacy and do our best to respect other's the same, so we never thought or asked about it.

    I just feel caught. Regardless of whatever her issue(s) may be, there was never a problem before the rooster. I guess I can't help but feel like I'm responsible.
     
  7. weimlikeschicks

    weimlikeschicks Out Of The Brooder

    52
    1
    33
    Mar 21, 2012
    Well shoot. I dunno then, but good luck and it sounds like you are at least approaching from the right angle.
     
  8. Schrebergaertner

    Schrebergaertner Chillin' With My Peeps

    123
    19
    121
    Dec 13, 2010
    If his first crow is at 5:45, maybe the real issue is your roo waking her up? We, too, were 100% in the right legally (they called the county animal control, who came over and said we were fine, they needed to move). Nevertheless, to be good neighbors, we started putting him in the garage at night and letting him out no earlier than 7:30 am. Things have been much, much better with the neighbors. He crows quite a bit all day, but taking care of the morning wake-up calls solved it.
     
  9. la dee da

    la dee da Chillin' With My Peeps

    610
    12
    144
    Dec 18, 2008
    Virginia
    Well you say you've never really spoken to the wife. Speaking as a neighbor who has felt isolated from most of my neighbors, this makes it really, REALLY easy to not appreciate something that they do/something of thiers. She may not like the rooster by the simple fact that she doesn't know you and it brings in an unfamilier sound that she feels she shouldn't have to put up with. Being familier, even a little familier, with your neighbors and knowing that they care about you can make a huge difference.

    What I suggest is that you go over and talk to the wife. Tell her that you know the rooster bothers her, and that you wish to resolve the problem without getting rid of him, because you and your family love him so much. Don't bring in the fact that you may legally keep him, as this could cause her to go on defense. When do you let your rooster out of the coop? If it's earlier than when she gets up in the morning perhaps that's why the rooster bothers her. I know I get grouchy if I don't have enough sleep, and with 5 children she could be quite stressed already.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Sigh. Doesn't sound like he crows much at all. And if the issue is just that they can hear a rooster crow at all, well, that's sort of tough, if you are legally allowed to have him. Gosh, it's ONE rooster, for cripes sake! Sometimes, I jokingly would want to say I can hear their kids screaming, too, but I don't ask them to get rid of them, LOL. Really, kids make much more noise when they're playing than one rooster when he crows a few times.
     
    2 people like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by