Neighbors object, even though bylaws allow it...

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by ChickieNikki, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. ChickieNikki

    ChickieNikki Chillin' With My Peeps

    So I live in a subdivision that is considered, in our bylaws, to be "mini-farm and mini-ranch" living. All lots are 3-5 acres, at least 1/3 of them have ponds, and several neighbors keep ducks on their ponds, either as personal pets or just ducks that migrate there and stay. The neighborhood abuts to a working horse farm with chickens on one end, and a horse farm on the other. There are chickens at 2 houses in the adjacent subdivision--one family seems to have dozens of them, judging by the number of coops they have!

    Anyway, the bylaws read:

    "Cattle, hogs, commercial poultry, commercial dog kennels, and commercial feed lots are prohibited." Horses are permitted specifically, but no other animals are specified one way or another. No one has horses, one neighbor had chickens but they were so far away from the rest that I think I'm the only one who knew about it. There are no specs or requirements for a coop; fencing is permitted without getting board approval if it is plastic or wood (mine will be plastic).

    Last year at our meeting, I spoke up to clarify that so long as I'm not selling eggs or chickens, I can have chickens. I fully expected that they'd read the section and say, Well, that's what it says, so yes, you can.

    How wrong I was. Several neighbors freaked out. Acted like there was NO basis for ANYONE expecting to have anything but a dog or cat in here. One said she didn't want chickens because they would attract coyote and she didn't want her children attacked by coyote. (Her kids are 7, 10, and 14.)

    I was so shocked that I was speechless, except to say that I'm the one with 6 kids and I'm the one who will be investing in the chickens, so believe me, I don't want any predators to attack my kids or my chickens, either. Then it turned to mayhem, several people actually walked out of the meeting, and a vote took place (not in accordance with what our bylaws say--just a spontaneous vote), wherein 5 of the 25 people there even bothered to vote, and it was 3-2 in favor of yes, I can have chickens, but not more than 10. When the meeting minutes were typed up and sent out a month later, I about croaked: not only did it say that I agreed that I wouldn't have more than 10 chickens, it also said that I agreed to submit my coop plans to the board for approval. There was NEVER even any DISCUSSION about a coop--for all they know, I'm keeping them in my kitchen--I never told them I was building a coop!

    So our meeting this year is coming up in early May. I should have my coop (which I am not submitting for approval, since the bylaws were not changed and since I am not required to do so) completed and hopefully have my chickens here (they might be 4-6 weeks old, and not even be out yet, so no one can complain that they are doing anything offensive. Oh, and I ordered 25. Not to be obnoxious, but because I can't find pullets, only straight run, at the farm stores, and so I ordered online--25 chick minimum was the best I could do.

    Hubby is building a coop that will be the same color as the house, off the back of the basement, practically next to the house. The run will be poultry fence (net, not wire), and thus hardly visible. I will plant daylilies across the front of the run so the chickens will not be visible to the neighbors from the front of my house (unless you're IN my driveway), and I will plant hydrangeas along the other end so that the downhill neighbors' view of the run will be obstructed. I also plan to put some gingerbread trim, a window box with flowers on my coop, and put some small shrubs and that little short 12" white picket fence in front of it so that it looks cute, more like a girly playhouse than a chicken coop.

    However, I'm not going to let them run me over this year. I'm sure it'll come up--every time I see one of my neighbors that I don't see as often, the first thing they ask is, "Did you get your chickens yet?" and I was surprised that I mentioned to the neighbor across the street who (I'm very friendly with) that we're ordering the chickens, and she immediately said, "How many?"

    I'm so mad that I let them act that way, but I was so shocked I didn't want to lose my temper (which was likely if I opened my mouth), so I want to be prepared this year. Any advice would be appreciated--I just want to exercise my rights to live my mini-farm life, and be left alone. I'm hundreds of yards from each neighbor, I'm doing everything I can to make it attractive, and given the fact that there is a commercial dog kennel, an auto body shop (another forbidden operation), and people who shoot 12 gauge shotguns off during the day for hourse sometimes, I think they ought to all leave me the {BLEEP} alone. Oh, and did I mention that there is a working quarry 1800 feet from the edge of the subdivision--they blast at least 3-5 times a week. What more nuisance could a few harmless birds create, right!

    Thanks for reading this rant, and thanks for any input--I just want to be prepared.
  2. 98 gt

    98 gt a man of many... chickens

    Jan 14, 2009
    Marshville NC
    if anyone says anything, i would counter with the fact that commercial poultry operations are not permitted... but personal is fine, and yes you can sell eggs, well not sell but give away if they feel inclined tomakesmall donations to the chicken feed fund... then therreshould be no issues unless your neighbors are gonna keep hounding you until you eiher moveor give up.
    eited to add this-
    also ducks will attract coyotes just like chickens can... not to mention fox, raccoon, posssum etc.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009
  3. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    Good luck. Some peeps are just .............. well [​IMG]
  4. poltroon

    poltroon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2008
    California (North Coast)
    First, you know what attracts coyotes? Cats. Delicious cats. [​IMG]

    I would just say, cheerfully, "I've read the bylaws and they don't restrict pet chickens. They will be nearest to my house and I certainly want them to be attractive and pleasant to be around. Please come and talk with me if they are causing a problem for you, and we'll work it out."
  5. Dr.Doorlock

    Dr.Doorlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2008
    Garland, Texas

    Take all 25 chicks to the meeting. Be sure you have fresh pine shavings deep enough to hide the poo. Have a jar with a sign about the donations for feed and the "free" eggs. Have downloaded materials showing the cute playhouse style coops. You might also want to offer the poo and maybe even think of composting it for your garden and the gardens of the generous people who donated to the food fund.

    You might even grasp the interest of another potential cotton-pickin' chicken lovin' neighbor.
  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Dr. Doorlock, that's a great idea.
  7. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't think I would take the chickens to the meeting. I love my chickens, but even my immediate family members can't tell one chicken from the other. Other people just don't see chickens the same way we chicken-lovers do...

    poltroon had a good line. Practice saying that response enough times in advance of the meeting that you can pull it off even if internally you are getting upset.

    If anyone brings up the previous minutes, I would say something along the lines of - "with all due respect, there is no 10 chicken limit in the bylaws; I did not agree to it, and I do not recall coops being discussed at last years meeting at all." and then reiterate your line about wanting the chickens to be pleasant to be around, and invite positive discussion if there is a specific problem.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  8. Dr.Doorlock

    Dr.Doorlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2008
    Garland, Texas
    Vermontgal has a better idea to make it effective and more to the point.......not nearly as much fun, but you can have the fun AFTER you straighten out the Harper Valley PTA!
  9. aberfitch

    aberfitch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2008
    Texas Fort Worth
    good luck with your meeting. That is why I will never live in a community with a home association!
  10. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Are you talking about a home owners association? If you are I would check with the county for ordinances for subdivision zoning. A HOA have no legal authority, the best they could do is sue you and take you to court. And by their own bylaws they would lose. The problem is some counties do not allow livestock for subdivisions, and there is always the old fall back of bringing in the health dept.

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