Neighborhood association is anti-chicken; neighbors are pro-chicken

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by DCMiesem, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. DCMiesem

    DCMiesem Hatching

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    Oct 27, 2010
    I'm so glad I've found you guys. I started my flock in April, and now have 4 laying hens, 1 late blooming hen, and one non-aggressive rooster who happens to crow. None of my neighbors have complained to me or my neighborhood association (HOA) about my chickens or my rooster. In fact, the ones that have noticed LOVE my chickens!

    My neighborhood association, however, has vaguely worded rules about what pets are allowed. In a nutshell, they allow "commonly accepted household pets like dogs, cats, birds, and fish." Silly me, I thought it was common for people to own birds that are chickens (I live in Albuquerque, where city ordinance allows for up to 15 chickens including one rooster). City ordinance here has never NOT allowed chickens! Yes, it's more common for folks to have cats and dogs, but chickens are relatively common. More importantly, my neighbors are okay with my chickens. My neighborhood association, however, is telling me to get rid of them immediately or face fines daily ($50/day).

    My campaign is multi-faceted, and why I'm writing here is to help me establish with my neighborhood association, and perhaps the courts, later, just how common chicken ownership is, and how it's not unusual for a household to have chickens as pets. And yeah, my babies are pets. <3 My kids tend them, collect their eggs, the chickens are all named and we love their personalities. We hold our chickens. We hand feed them. These aren't falcons or emus!

    So... how common IS chicken ownership in urban areas??? Are they as limited to barnyards as, say, horses? Cows? Herding dogs?

    Your input and direction is GREATLY appreciated!!!!
     
  2. shortstaque

    shortstaque Songster

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    I live in a small town in the suburbs and have chickens. I know of one other neighbor on the street with chickens. There are chickens right across from the diner on Main Street in my town.

    Good luck in your quest. Key words: "pet" and "birds"
     
  3. Ugh. These things are such a pain. I say the city ordinances trump the neighborhood association. Do try to label them as "Pet Birds". That can give you a leg up.
     
  4. shortstaque

    shortstaque Songster

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    Unfortunately, chances are good that the HOA regs trump the city ordinances, which is why you have to read the small print before you move in. That said, if the rules don't specifically mention chickens, your best bet is to play the pet card. Have pictures of your children handling them like pets, call them by name, describe their personalities, etc.

    Before talking with the HOA again, I would recommend arming yourself with information in support of your cause. For reference there was and article on legalizing urban hens in the December/January issue of Backyard Poultry Magazine Strategies for Legalizing Hens in Your Community. Also Mother Earth News offers this statement for use in obtaining support for small backyard flocks from local municipalities. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Happy-Homesteader/Statement-Chicken-Ordinances.aspx Print out a copy of the city and HOA regulations. Highlight anywere that specifically mentions chickens so you know what you are talking about.

    Read through all the stickies at the top of this topic if you haven't already.

    Best of luck! I'm rooting for you and your hens [​IMG]
     
  5. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Songster

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    You might also consider a petition signed by neighbors. Bring along pictures of your housing for them. You might also point them to forums such as this one and other backyard chicken type forums. Maybe its time they redo the vague language and put some rules in there. You can have chickens but the coop has to be..... You could help them out with that. Its common enough where just about everyone we know has a neighbor that has some. Somewhere in that neighborhood I will hear a familiar egg song and go looking for the neighborhood chickens.
     
  6. DCMiesem

    DCMiesem Hatching

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    Oct 27, 2010
    Ah, you guys rock....

    Yes, HOA rules do trump city ordinances. I refer to them only because city ordinance specifically mentions chickens, whereas the HOA CC&R (codes, covenants, and restrictions) do not.

    They also stated that they'd had this "problem" before, and that they had decided years ago that chickens are not acceptable as household pets. That would overrule anything I was trying to do here, *if* they had added to the CC&R the fact that they had decided that chickens are specifically prohibited. As it has not been included, there is still the possibility that I can argue the "commonly accepted" part of the rule. Especially since this has happened before... apparently the neighborhood is ready to change what's "commonly accepted." I'm so hoping that there are some national stats on urban chicken ownership.

    I do have neighbors on my bandwagon. MANY. The HOA has been downright intrusive and punitive towards some home owners, while turning a blind eye to other violations of the CC&R. Many homeowners are already livid with the HOA, and see this as the straw on the camel's back. A petition for my chickens? Oh yeah. Sunday I'll be collecting signatures, while my neighbor and I visit households on our block and behind us, finding out more about where everyone stands. There's also talk about dissolving the HOA, but that's a much bigger deal than what I'm looking at immediately.

    And I'm hiring a lawyer to write a letter.

    And yeah, we have scads of pics of the kids with the chickens!

    Keep the responses coming!!! You guys are full of fantastic support and excellent ideas!!!!!
     
  7. flakey chick

    flakey chick Songster

    May 3, 2007
    Florida
    Petco sells chicken coops, chicken feed, and grit.
     
  8. shortstaque

    shortstaque Songster

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    Quote:Good point, they are a "petfood" distributor. [​IMG]
     
  9. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chirping

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    I'm on my suburban neighborhood HOA's board (shhhhh....I have 3 pullets). Our CC&Rs also have some vague wording about only allowing common household pets. One of the troublemaker neighbors in our subdivision found out that someone had a pet snake in their house and wanted our HOA to go after them since *GASP* it is a dangerous animal that could escape from their home and attack someone. Troublemaker's argument is that our CC&Rs don't allow for snakes. Some people just can't mind their own business! Anyway, I don't have much advice to offer you other than perhaps get on the HOA board for 2011. You might be able to get stuff done quicker that way in amending the CC&Rs in your favor.
     
  10. lazyoranch

    lazyoranch In the Brooder

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    Wal Mart also sells chicken feed in their pet section.
     

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