Meeting with Homeowners Association to argue for Chickens being allowed

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by FreeRangePamela, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. FreeRangePamela

    FreeRangePamela Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 2, 2014
    Texas Hill Country
    Hi, Folks:

    I live in a neighborhood where everyone lives on 3-10 acres and residents are allowed to keep cows, horses, goats, llamas, sheep, etc. But not chickens. At one point, it looked like the neighborhood was going to vote to allow chickens and, in a fit of excitement and a desire to let chicks acclimate to summer heat gradually, I went and got chicks.

    And then the measure didn't have enough support to pass. (More people voted "for" than "against," but it wasn't enough to change the rules.) So I became a renegade and someone complained (or someone official noticed). And, after various letters and trying to "lay low,' we are set to meet with the board of directors on our homeowners' association in a few weeks.

    Now, I know that chickens aren't allowed and we are breaking the rules, so I'm trying to figure out what we can say. My main idea is to ask for a whole-neighborhood vote on the issue and see how it comes out. If it doesn't pass, then we will agree to get rid of our chickens or move.

    I was thinking about taking a poll in advance to get a sense of how many are in favor of chickens, or could be persuaded if the rules were crafted to deal with their concerns. Thoughts on that? That would help me craft something that would be most likely to meet people's needs. (BTW, none of our immediate neighbors have a problem with our chickens and we only have hens, not a rooster.)

    Besides the idea for a poll, I thought of a few things to talk about:
    1. The need for food security
    2. The fact that chicken-keeping is growing in popularity and people may choose NOT to buy here if they can't keep chickens
    3. The horrendous way chickens are kept in commercial operations
    4. And general myth-busting about things like smell, noise, predators, etc.

    But what it comes down to, most likely, is convincing the rest of the neighborhood.

    Has anyone else faced a similar situation or know of something similar that would help me in our argument? I know I really don't have a leg to stand on in some ways, in that the neighborhood prohibits chickens (and swine) and I knew that, but we're just trying everything we possibly can because we love our chickens.

    Thanks in advance for ideas or pointers to other resources. I really appreciate them!

    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016
  2. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2013
    Midwest America
    I've not ever faced this issue, but here are some thoughts:

    What reasons do they give for allowing large barn animals and not allowing chickens? This is where I would start.

    If it's a noise level thing, do your research. How many decibels is a hens cackle compared to a horse/cow/sheep? If you are requesting to own roosters, what is their decibel level. Share the information with them (if it's in your favor). If you want only hens allowed, make that clear.

    If it's a smell/waste management thing, again, do your research. How much waste does a horse produce vs. a chicken? What are ways to cut down on possible smells (i.e. PDZ, poop boards, natural compost, etc.). Share your plan for keeping the area clean and managing the waste.

    If it's a predator thing, do your research. If you have a plan to predator-proof things, predators may investigate, but they are not going to stick around if they can't gain access. Share your plan for predator proofing.

    If people are worried about their landscaping if you free-range (they do get into landscaping), you may need to agree to keep them locked up.

    Be sure to talk about how good they are at preventing things like Lime disease and controlling beetle populations. Before getting chickens, we pulled numerous ticks off our dog, and ourselves, every year. Now we maybe see 1-2 a year because they chickens eat them all.

    Be sure to dispel the myth about the bird flu (but only if they bring it up). People can not get the bird flu and it may not even be impacting your area, or have ever been seen in chickens in your area. If neighbors are worried about diseases, perhaps they need to rethink having horses nearby as they can carry West Nile Virus and Equine Encephalitis, which people can actually get if bit by a mosquito who has bitten a horse with the disease. (Do your research on this one, but I used to own horses so I believe this is true.)

    What other areas near you allow chickens? Perhaps contact their townships and see if they have had any problems since allowing chickens in their area.

    Not sure if your neighborhood has limits on the number of livestock you can keep, but perhaps you would also need to look at limits on the number of chickens one can keep as well. Maybe they are worried about people ending up with 100 chickens, rather than 10 or so.

    Do your research and only address the concerns they share with you.
  3. FreeRangePamela

    FreeRangePamela Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 2, 2014
    Texas Hill Country
    This is perfect and consistent with what I have been thinking already -- which is a relief, to be honest. I am a journalist by training so research is something I know I can do well and I'm eager to dig in on something I care about. I've made a web site to share the results of my research, partly just to keep myself organized and also to serve as a way to convince folks who have doubts. Lots of work to do! We will see. Any other ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks so much, @trailrider330.
  4. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I have nothing to add over what trailrider330 said. That's what I was thinking when I read your post -- find out exactly what the objections are and address them specifically. It just blows my mind that cows, horses and other manner of barnyard (and non-barnyard) animals are allows but not chickens. I would have expected it to be the other way around. I have horses and goats in the pastures on three sides of my property. Nothing smells as bad or is as persistently obnoxiously loud as a buck (intact male goat) during rutting season and yet they're allowed and chickens aren't.

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