Need advice on Neighbor that thinks my chickens "ATE" her tree...

MamaManda

Songster
8 Years
Dec 2, 2011
158
5
111
SW Washington
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry for the long story - but to give you some background into my issue:

My next door neighbor is a retired woman in her 60's that has made it her full time job to patrol the neighborhood. She calls the police "on my behalf" when the 4 year old on the other side of my house opens my mailbox, or runs his bike into my garage door when I am not home. She calls the city compliance department on many of the neighbors on our cul-de-sac for a variety of reasons...overgrown trees, parked cars(in use) leaking oil on the street, garbage cans sitting at the curb for "too long", neighbors house shingles "not matching" after fire damage repair, and when my rooster (that I can't have in city limits and was trying to find a new home for) started crowing, etc.

Our yards are separated by a chainlink fence, and my coop is in the back of my yard, where the back corners of our yards meet. Last year, I had a hen with chicks, and when the chicks would get through the fence links into her yard (when they were tiny) and not heed their mother's clucks to return, the Mama hen would get into the yard with them, until I saw them and went to retrieve them, or until she saw them and came to notify me.

There have been a few other occasions where my Americaunas have flown into her yard and scratched one of her bergenia plants to oblivion, which I offered to replace, and she said wasn't necessary since it was the end of the season and it would come back in the spring. I have since clipped ALL my hens wings and they haven't been in her yard in a looong time. I am home all day and keep a close eye on my birds, especially to avoid any issues with them and her.

Today, she approached my husband and told him she wanst us to replace a 30 year old Japanese Maple that is in her backyard because "last year she saw my hens up in the branches, eating all the bark off the trunk; and this year some of the branches did not leaf out." (The same thing happened to one of her maples in the front yard last year, and she tried to blame it on my kids climbing the tree and breaking one of the main branches. I realize this is a possibility, but my children are not allowed in the front yard without supervision, as they are small, and I am very attentive. I am certain they never climbed her tree or broke branches. We avoid her yard like the plague.) Because some of the 25' tall trees branches on the tree in the backyard did not leaf out, she says she "has to cut it down" and wants us to pay for it.

I am 95% certain my birds were not in her tree, and that they did not "eat" the bark. She would have been over here in a heartbeat to notify me if they were. I have trees and large bushes in my yard, and I have never seen any of my hens in any of them. We all have horrible squirrel problems, and my guess is it is the squirrels doing the damage, as they do quite a bit of damage in my yard and beds as well.
The reason for this post is to ask if anyone has ever had experience with chickens stripping bark off trees, and how often yours fly up into tree branches. I am ready to tell her off, but I know it will result in some type of action on her behalf that will be very tiring and frustrating on mine, as I've seen how she has dealt with other neighbors.


Advice anyone?
 

WalkingOnSunshine

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
4,210
516
328
Ohio
We have 50-75 chickens (depending on the season) in a run with two pin oaks that have branches that reach almost to the ground and lots of limbs within reach of chickens. My chickens hang out underneath the tree and have completely worn away the grass, but don't strip bark at all. My GOATS eat the heck out of them--but not the chickens. They don't even perch in the branches.
 
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coopscritters

Chirping
8 Years
Feb 1, 2013
75
4
91
N.B.Can
Just walk away and pretend it didn't happen. if she does pursue it insist that she call an arbourist to prove that the damage was caused by birds. ( the city or town will have one or she can pay for one) Just say get it in writing. I had a crazy neighbour like that and any sort of confrontation, no matter how civil and nice you are determind to be will end up going wrong for you.
We moved to the country
tongue.png
 

jgarreth

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 13, 2013
45
3
89
I had a crazy neighbor who swore the chlorine from my swimming pool poisoned her dog. We have a 6ft privacy fence and the only water that MAY have gotten in her yard would have been from splashing. I told her that my kids drank the pool water half the time and didn't get sick so my "splashover" wasn't making her dog sick. She never bothered me again. People are so annoying. They need to mind their own business...ugh.
 

Sonoran Silkies

Flock Mistress
11 Years
Jan 4, 2009
20,149
438
421
Tempe, Arizona
IFF the chickens got into her tree, they MIGHT have eaten a bit of bark (pretty much a long shot, but it is POSSIBLE). However, to actually damage the tree, they would have had to eat a LOT. Unless there was easy access to the branches, they almost certainly did not spend any time there. I used to have an orange tree that some of my birds roosted in--but they did not spend much daylight time there, only hopping up bit by bit at dusk, and they certainly did not eat the bark or damage the tree.
 

WalkingOnSunshine

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
4,210
516
328
Ohio
LOTS of things eat bark, but chickens really aren't one of them. I suppose they could, but probably not. I have an apple seedling that is going to die this year from having the bark taken off, but that wasn't chickens, that was deer. I did a quick Googling for you, and looks like rabbits and squirrels will strip bark.

This one was linked to by Cornell: http://icwdm.org/wildlife/Squirrels/BarkStripping.aspx
Washington State Department of Natural Resources: http://washingtondnr.wordpress.com/...-how-to-tell-if-it-was-caused-by-a-porcupine/
Chicago Tribune: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-06-14/news/9806140492_1_bark-stripping-trees

And many many more.

The point being, there are MANY animals in the landscape, including an urban landscape, that will chew bark. Tell your neighbor to prove it.
 

LovedMyAlydar

Songster
12 Years
Oct 15, 2007
178
10
121
Kentucky
Sorry you have to deal with an annoying neighbor. We have had them before as well. We moved to the country and still have one that is a real pain in the behind, but at least she is a bit further away and not right out my door. Like others said, burden of proof is on her and I doubt she can prove it was chickens. Good luck.
 

PandoraChick

Songster
8 Years
Apr 5, 2011
148
4
108
The Dunes Indiana!
I am going to tell you it is not worth the argument...Just buy her the tree for 25.00 at a feed/farm store..Maybe even offer to take to pick one out. She is bored. Take her to lunch too.

I seriously doubt your chickens did it, but in her mind they did. You do NOT want to make an enemy of her. 25.00 or even 100.00 is so much cheaper( financially and emotionally) then having to deal with/live next to a NFH. I have been through more neighbor drama with my current neighbor then I ever want to remember...But my neighbors werent bored and lonely..they were just plain malicious. Your lady sounds bored and lonely and if it were me, I'd buy her the tree and take her to lunch just to avoid any future drama.

Good Luck!

ETA: Just consider it a Random Act of Kindness :)
 
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