Need Reason #12, Please, and Also, ...

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by 3KillerBs, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm revising my "Please Change the Regulations" letter and have an awkward 11 reasons. Things work out better mentally if a list has 10 items or 12 items, not 11.

    Can you help me find a 12th, serious, reason for allowing backyard chickens (not the free people, free country, property rights one*)? Preferably with a link to a respectable source like an ag extension publication or a respected magazine's website to justify it.

    Here's the text of the letter as currently revised:

    Dear Councilmen/Councilwomen,

    When we called Town Hall to inquire about keeping a small flock of laying hens we were told that chickens were not permitted in town. I would like to request that you consider amending this rule in light of the many advantages that citizens would obtain from the ability to keep backyard hens.

    These advantages being:

    1. Residents would be able to obtain fresh, local food of superior quality. Even the federal government has realized the advantages of local food over food which has been transported hundreds, even thousands of miles before it reaches our tables and is encouraging people to eat locally as is the North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture.

    2. The eggs from hens that have access to sunshine, fresh air, and a natural diet are higher in vitamins A and E and other nutrients while being lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.

    3. Chickens provide a nutritional safety net in times of economic hardship. Farm-raised eggs of equal quality cost $3.50 and up to buy. A mere half-dozen hens would provide several dozen eggs per week – giving families a reliable source of high-quality protein. Given that the largest demographic category for TOWNNAME residents is the construction trades, a field in which work is often seasonal and which has been hit hard by the ongoing economic crisis, this could be an important contribution to many families’ well-being.

    4. Raising chickens is educational for children – giving them a greater understanding of history and teaching them to understand that food doesn’t appear in the grocery store by magic nor is it made in a factory.

    5. Having the ability to keep chickens would open more of the character-building 4-H programs to TOWNNAME children. Additionally, few things can do more to teach children responsibility and provide them with a sense of worth than to not only be in charge of a living creature but also to contribute to the family’s food supply.

    6. Chickenkeeping offers the opportunity to improve our soil, which tests as severely deficient in vital plant nutrients, by adding composted chicken manure. With our soil enriched in this way, our lovely town could be even more beautiful as gardeners would be able to raise healthy plants while using fewer chemical fertilizers.

    7. Chickens reduce the population of insect pests by eating many harmful bugs including the ticks that can carry disease and many harmful garden pests.

    8. Chickens put into a mobile pen for the day can rid our lawns of tough to kill weeds including dandelions, plantains, and other locally common problem plants.

    9. Special feeding practices can produce “designer eggs” with elevated content of certain desired nutrients. These are not generally available in the US market but the practices can be easily adopted by the backyard chickenkeeper – especially the lutein and zeaxanthin enriched eggs that help prevent macular degeneration.

    10. The addition of outbuildings and fenced areas improve property values.

    11. Chickens themselves are highly ornamental and entertaining to watch. Many of the breeds are attractively colored and patterned, adding charm and beauty to the landscape they inhabit.

    Naturally, when someone suggests a change as initially startling as adding chickens to the list of familiar pets – dogs, cats, rabbits, caged reptiles, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc. – people may have concerns about possible negative effects on their neighborhood. The good news is that a well-kept flock of backyard hens gives neighbors no more trouble or concern than any of the more traditional suburban animals.

    Some, knowing the foul nature of commercial chicken houses, worry that backyard chickens may smell. While any animal will stink if ill-kept, a small flock of well-cared for hens will not create an offensive odor. Even a dozen hens would create less waste than a couple medium to large dogs. Waste that is easy to dispose of because, unlike dog poop, chicken manure can be composted – which turns waste into valuable, odor-free fertilizer.

    Some worry that chickens may carry disease, especially bird flu. The good news is that there has never been a documented case of chickens transmitting bird flu to human in the US. And transmission of other diseases is exceedingly rare. Just as with human-to-human transmission, washing hands and practicing ordinary good hygiene works wonders.

    Some worry that chickens may attract pests. They do not. Mice may infest improperly stored feed – just as they might infest dog food, cat food, or the seed for our birdfeeders – but the chickens themselves will, like cats and dogs, kill mice and even snakes when given the chance. Additionally, as insect eaters, they like nothing more than to rid our yards of ticks, roaches, and garden pests. Raccoons, possums, foxes, and other predators are a natural part of the environment in our town. Chickens are no more attractive to them than garbage cans, cat/dog food bowls, gardens, and other, more familiar parts of the small town environment.

    Some worry that chickens may be noisy. Roosters can indeed be noisy, but a backyard flock of laying hens need not include a rooster. The hens’ clucking would quickly become mere background – no more obtrusive than the sound of the heat pump, the neighbor’s pool filter, the wild birds, or the traffic hum from Route X.

    With so many advantages to permitting citizens to keep backyard chickens in town and no real drawbacks, I would like to propose that you amend the town ordinances to permit each household that so desires to keep a backyard flock of up to a dozen chickens, hens only with no roosters, with no more restrictions on them than are provided for other household animals under the ordinary leash laws and nuisance laws.

    When kept on this modest scale, chickens could contribute greatly to the well-being of the community while adding to the beauty and small-town charm that is a significant part of TOWNNAME’s desirability for its residents. I’ve included some reference materials for your convenience in further research as you consider this matter.

    Thank you very much,

    Also, can you link me to a serious, documented source about what plants ranged/tractored chickens will eat so that I can improve my argument about weed control?



    *I approve of libertarian arguments about property use, but if I use them I will put it in a supplement with the resource material I will be including because I am creating what is, essentially, a marketing presentation to sell the idea of backyard chickens and want to avoid even the slightest hint of confrontation or aggressiveness. However sympathetic one may be to libertarian-type political arguments, one has to admit that they often come across as hostile or demanding and that most people's automatic reaction to a person shouting "I have a right, ...!" is "Over my dead body," -- especially when they are trying to sell you something. [​IMG] [​IMG] LOL​
     
  2. Soccer Mom

    Soccer Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    West of Crazy
    I would combine 4 and 5 into a single point since both deal with the education of children. This would give you a nice satisfying 10, which is better than a weak 12 (IMHO).

    Good luck!
     
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    I agree. What a well written piece, best of luck to you! [​IMG]
     
  4. SarasotaClucker

    SarasotaClucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Can't help with weed control, but we did build on Robin Ripley's Eight (then nine) reasons to get up to a dozen.
    The three I added are food waste management, "neighboring" and fighting sprawl. Check out the entry on our Sarasota CLUCK blog . Let me know if they help.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  5. valereee

    valereee Ordinance Wrangler

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    Cincinnati
  6. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    ...properly treated and composted coop bedding is part of a balanced compost program for a small property, or can be donated to a municipal organics program, unlike most pet waste...
     

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