Ohio Revised Code and Ranging Chickens

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by MaryKayH, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. MaryKayH

    MaryKayH New Egg

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    Nov 26, 2009
    Amelia
    Before we got our hens (and one surprise roo) in May, we checked with our township to be sure that we could in fact have chickens here. Our township governs by Ohio Revised Code . We're on one acre of unplatted land, and after some checking, our township said that it is okay per ORC for us to have chickens.

    We have no neighbors to the back (it's a wooded ravine that backs up to a farm). We did check with our neighbors on either side, and they both said that they were okay with us getting hens. So we did. We modified our barn to contain a coop, a door, and a chicken ramp down to the yard. We range our yard birds, and we do not have a fenced yard. Seriously, we didn't anticipate problems because we talked to our neighbors and they said sure, get chickens!

    Now 6 months later, guess what? Somebody is complaining. I don't know which neighbor it is, but I have my suspicions: I think it's the neighbor who became stand-offish over the past 2 months.

    It began in August with a visit from Animal Control. They left a door hanger that said we might be in violation of ORC 951.02: Animals Running at Large. I looked up the code before I called AC, and saw that the list of critters that must be contained do NOT include chickens. I called the officer -- who is a fellow back yard chicken owner -- and she said that no, I was not in violation of ORC. She said the caller complained of chicken poo, and said that if they wanted to live in the country, they'd move, but this is the suburbs and not farmland. She told me that the call was anonymous so she could not call them back to explain that we were not breaking any laws, but she also did suggest that to maintain good neighborly relations, we might want to consider building a run.

    On of our neighbors feeds the birds and gladly accepts eggs. The other neighbor is the one who has stopped being friendly, barricaded his deck, and won't accept eggs. Previously, though, whenever our neighbor was outside with his grandkids, either me or my kids made sure they chickens stayed away from them. We have chased the birds off of his deck and out of his flowers. Every time, he has told us not to worry about it. So the animal control call came as a shock.

    We did consider building a run or enclosure, but at the time my husband was working 80 hours/week and simply didn't have time to build a run. What we did do was limit the number of hours the chickens could range to only a couple of hours late in the day, after I get home from school (I am a teacher). They go into their run just after dusk.

    Yesterday we received a call from our township zoning officer, who said that he received a neighbor complaint. He could not tell us who complained. He asked that we contain our chickens to keep the neighbor happy, and I told him about the ORC, the animal control issue, and the the AC Officer said we were not in violation of code. I told him what we'd done so far (limiting range hours).

    The zoning officer is going to look at the ORC and talk to Animal Control, and he said he would get back to me. He asked that I contain the birds in the meantime, which means no ranging until at least Monday, given that it's a holiday weekend. I'm not good with that and am strongly considering letting my girls out tomorrow in spite of all of this.

    I also told him that I am concerned that even if we compromise with an enclosure, they will still not be happy (given their dissatisfaction with our previous compromise), and this will end up in our chicken-owning rights to be revoked. He said that wouldn't happen because they follow ORC -- but I replied that if they do follow ORC, then my ranging hens shouldn't even be an issue, right? And I know that townships can in fact write their own ordinances, when ORC doesn't meet township needs.

    I refuse to totally contain my birds. It's not healthy for them, and I might as well buy eggs from somebody else if I have to keep my birds in a factory setting. Unfortunately, that was the Zoning Administrator's first response to this whole endeavor: why don't you just buy eggs like everybody else?

    So that's the background. I guess my questions to all of your are, one, have you encountered this type of resistance before? Anybody have experience dealing with ORC and can tell me what to expect of the township's interpretation of the law?

    And if your advice is to just build a run, does anybody have photos of what they've built?
     
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Fence your yard (tall enough to prevent the chickens from flying over), at least on the side of the neighbor who you believe to be complaining. You wouldn't want his dog coming and pooping on your porch, why should your chickens be any different? And while you have the right to range your chickens on your own yard, you do not have the right to range them on other people's property. You could also consider getting some wire or plastic fencing and some of the step-on fence stakes and creating an easily moved run for them--you can move it daily, weekly, monthly or whatever suits your preferences.

    If you are indeed in the country, he might well have the right to shoot any animal that encroaches on his property, or to confiscate it. Either of those would be worse than building a fence or pen to contain them.
     
  3. VA from WV

    VA from WV Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that the strongest position is to ask the nice official folks to render opinions in writing and see if they have a mechanism to deal with nuisance complaints. It is my strong suspicion that this twit is going to hit every avenue they can think of to make trouble, and unless the local governments basically learn to give it an administrative roundfiling, it will continue. I think it should be SOP for repeat anonymous nuisance complaints of this type--because it's just harassment(and a waste of taxpayer money).

    You do need to fence the yard. You really should consider a portable run for when you are not home, that is secure enough that no 'accidents' can happen.

    Protect your hens.
     
  4. Tweeza

    Tweeza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Playing the devil's advocate. We once had a nasty neighbor. If they'd come to us to ask if we minded they got chickens we would have said not a problem. We would have tried anything to create something of a nice relationship with them. Unfortunately, I would be hopping mad to have chicken poo on my porch as chickens do carry some illnesses (Ecoli, Salmonella). My own husband is not happy with my chickens, for this reason, but tolerates them. Anyway, because of past history we would not have dared to talk to the neighbor about the problem of their chickens destroying the flower beds and pooing on the deck. They would not have done anything about it and it would then be a problem. So to call AC anonomously would be our only option. Op, I hope you don't take offense but this is a true story just different situation and in which lawyers were eventually involved.

    Please, please fence your yard. I would think that the neighbor, when they gave permission, had no idea you'd let them run all over the place. I'm also surprised you haven't lost any. I'm sorry but this is the kind of situation that causes people to lose the privilage of keeping poultry.
     
  5. MaryKayH

    MaryKayH New Egg

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    Nov 26, 2009
    Amelia
    Thanks for the input. And no offense was taken at all.

    Given that we abut a wooded ravine and creekbed, we have all kinds of wild critters (deer, possum, raccoons, skunks, etc) roaming and pooping and eating everywhere. So guess I didn't give ranging the chickens too much thought -- I misinterpreted their approval the same way that they misinterpreted our "having" chickens.

    We're probably going to build some kind of tractor and get them out that way. We've pastured poultry and it doesn't sound like it is too different. I just hope that there are no special codes or permits required for the construction of a moveable chicken coop.

    It wouldn't surprise me, though.
     
  6. MaryKayH

    MaryKayH New Egg

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    Nov 26, 2009
    Amelia
    Quote:No, but I have to tolerate their roaming cats, yard cars, and wild pool parties. [​IMG]
     
  7. MaryKayH

    MaryKayH New Egg

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    Amelia
    Quote:My husband is also concerned that it won't end here. The neighbor in question recently lost his job, only a few years from retirement, and I think he's looking for somebody to vent on.

    You're right about protecting the girls. We're looking at options this evening. And I'm definitely going to get something in writing from them. I don't want anybody to come back after we contain the hens, only to tell us that what we did is still generating complaints merely because the neighbors can see or hear the birds.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My aunt takes great pride in her flower beds and landscaping. I remember a few years back her getting totally ticked off because a few chickens from next door kept coming over and tearing them up. She was to the point where she considered trapping and disposing of them. To some, it's no different than a neighbor's dog coming over and getting into the trash.

    For something temporary, I did see a useful post a few weeks ago. Get a 100 or 150 foot roll of 5' tall welded wire. You don't even need posts or anything. You can stand it up in a circle, or a horseshoe embracing their coop (depending on how your coop is set up, and it's pretty substantial. I tried it, and it worked really well. Good luck!
     
  9. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    Quote:No, but I have to tolerate their roaming cats, yard cars, and wild pool parties. [​IMG]

    Okay, the cats I can see coming into your yard and being a similar nuisance, but do the yard cars or wild pool parties come onto your property?
     
  10. Emilys3guppies

    Emilys3guppies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm glad to hear that you're building a tractor. In our town, chicken tractors (moveable runs) don't require a permit to build or own but you'll have to check with your own town's regulations.

    I agree with the other's too...the problem here isn't your neighbours, it's your chickens. But, you've got a solution and sounds like you've got a good timeline to put it into production! Happy Chickening!

    Take care,
    Emily
     

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