Need some input on an information document.

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In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 12, 2012
Bradenton, Florida
I've noticed many of the groups trying to get their chicken laws changed have a pdf document full of chicken information to send to their officials. After reading through a bunch it occured to me that none of them would fit what we needed and started writing one for us. For chickens, yes, they're great, but what of the other fowl?

I have it about as good as I can get it on my own. Would it be possible to get some input on it, does it read ok, basically accurate, anything need to be added, removed, or changed?

I also plan on adding at the end a list of websites to go to for more information, byc included, but that's going to take a little while to go back through all of the sites I went through before and make the list. :rolleyes:

One more request, I feel it needs pictures of some form. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Plus, the other pdfs all have pictures of happy, smiling (human) faces with their chicken pets. Any suggestions for that? I don't have any of my own or know of anyone local to ask. :/
Thank you, and please... I would love photos if you would be ok with me using them. I had thought about asking around here but wasn't sure what the best way to do it would be. Then there was an idea for an ad on craigslist, which seemed like it could go very wrong, but I don't know, maybe it would be ok to ask there if someone out in the ag zones would let me come and take a few pictures of them with their birds... with the offer of free copies as a sort of payment?

Perhaps I should make some pie charts or fancy, important looking graphs to increase the graphical content. :lol:
Looks like you've done a lot of research! Nicely done!

Some thoughts:

1) Try to condense your ideas as much as possible. Remember that although we are interested in this topic and will read through seven pages, others may lose interest after a page or two and dismiss it.

2) As you've already mentioned, add a few photographs.

3) Try to stay on the positive end of a statement whenever possible. Trust me, I know it is hard..I can't tell you how long it took me to get the wording in the best light possible. For instance, in your 'Response to Common Concerns" maybe say "Poultry Are Clean Animals" instead of "Dirty Animals, Objectionable Odor" or "Poultry Are Quiet Animals" instead of "Noise Complaints".

Please don't take this input the wrong way...looks like you've put a ton of work into this and are on the right track. Just trying to share some of my experiences and feedback when I was putting a similar document together. Here is also the informational packet used by Providence, Rhode Island when they successfully legalized backyard chickens in 2010. We hope to follow in their footsteps before the end of this year. Keeping our fingers crossed! Both of these documents were submitted after the ordinance had been introduced to the respective City Councils. Prior to that they were passed out to citizens to encourage their support.

Good Luck!
You guys are truly wonderful, thank you.
localri, the first document you linked to... you wrote that? It's beautiful. You managed to condense everything into 4 pages? :eek: That'll be the hard part for me, I think... I've always had a tendency to use an excessive number of words. Perhaps the chart and graph idea will be useful after all... if I can convert some of the information into an easy to read chart it might be better than a paragraph. I was having issues with length, what would be good, too short, too long... I guess I'm worried if I cut it down too much the council will read it and still not be persuaded, but I also don't want them to take a look at the length and toss it because it's too much to deal with.

Also, I know eventually I'll need to write something I can say in under two minutes, the alotted time to speak at a city council meeting, but I'm waiting until after the election (one or more of the members will be different from the current ones) and I want to be as fully prepared for that as possible.
Me + public speaking = :oops:
I'll have to remember to think like the rooster we had... fluff and bluff... I'm big, brave, and strong, lol.

Good point about the wording too, #3, I forgot about that small but effective psychological tactic. Do you think it would be ok to use the negative once (as the common objection) followed by flipping it into the positive and then a short explanation as proof of the truth? That might get the point across... this is what people say but here is the truth of the matter.

Thank you, and good luck to you too!
Yes, the first document was written by me. There were several rewrites that occurred in about 6 month's time before I was happy with it. Feel free to use that as a template for your specific issues.

I was advised by a City Councilman that short and sweet is the way to go. How about paring down your information as much as possible for handouts but still keeping a copy of the longer document for you to refer to if there are any questions? I did that for our meeting. I am just like you when it comes to public speaking....scares the heck out of me. I spoke in a combination of bullet points along with normal conversational paragraphs here and there. Was shaking the whole time I was talking but my DH told me I did great and that it didn't show (much). Had a copy of our proposed ordinance with me along with notes and that really helped when the questions began.

As for the negatives, I would try to stay away from them as much as possible. Remember that most of the Council will just be skimming this document. I know that you would like to think that they actually read what people give them (as I did) but they usually have a lot going on and chickens are not high on the list (as we would like anyway!). Skimming and seeing negatives would just give them more to stand out as a reason NOT to allow chickens. Remember too that these guys are very cognizant of public opinion as that is how they stay in office. Give them the reasons that chickens are a positive for his/her constituents rather than possible trouble spots.

Do you have an idea of what may be an obstacle to getting a chicken ordinance passed? For us, and Providence in 2010, it was rats. I had to be sure that I covered every possible issue that could arise and address them head on. I can send you a copy of my speech "cheat sheet" if that would help. Just let me know.

Hope this helps. Please let us know how this works out.

Well, it started out as seven pages and alot of text, I've edited, snipped, and tried to rephrase in shorter form, added photos, and realized that most of the programs I've grown to love working with over the years no longer work (new computer blues) and now it's ten pages... how'd that happen? :lol: At least it's a spaced out ten pages rather than looking like a book-to-be, and to be fair, the first page is a sort of cover with a table of contents, and the last is nothing but references.
(And I even added bookmarks for easy navigation! :weee )
I should be able to upload it tomorrow for posting, I feel the need to read through it once more for typos before uploading, something of an OCD.

Thank you, Kim, you've given me a new way to look at it... I'm going to try an do another re-write with skimmers in mind. I was stuck thinking it had to be an all encompassing, almost formal thesis kind of thing, but less formal might work better.

As for the obstacle, in a way... I started doing the research after a conversation with one of our Mayoral candidates in which he asked why I thought the ordinance existed. At the time I had no clue why chickens, ducks, or other fowl might be prohibited so he asked me to do the information gathering. As a first step, I wrote the city council, all five of them, and asked why, just why. Only two have responded, both said similar things, noise and smell bothering the neighbors. So I would guess those two would be the biggest problems. Actually it was that conversation that led to me focusing on answers to the negatives.

It might help that chickens (hens, at least) are already legal in Tampa, Sarasota, and Palmetto, nearby cities, two of which are larger than here. It's the other fowl that are going to be tough and I'm firm on ducks, only had a month with the chickens and I've never even held a chick, but we had one of our ducks for three years.

And now, back to work, lol, and thank you, again, I am really appreciating the help, and it is helping very much.
I'm glad I could help and I look forward to seeing the next version of your document.


A fellow OCD :)

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