In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 17, 2010
I wasn't sure exactly where to put this.

Backyard chickens were recently approved in our municipality - Nanaimo, BC. We are allowed 4 chickens, no roosters, in a fully enclosed pen/coop and certain distances from dwellings and lot lines. We have... 6 chickens. 2 of them don't lay yet. Aside from that all rules are followed. We have a corner lot with two neighbours. Down the hill, the neighbours are friendly and said they both had chickens growing up and don't mind. There is a solid 8-foot fence separating the properties, and the chickens are closest to these neighbors. To the side is a young couple with an older single guy living in a basement suite. The single guy is really strange but relatively harmless. My husband has spoken to him and he says he doesn't mind. The couple upstairs seem to be the problem. My husband has heard the wife on the deck yelling at the chickens to shut up (one had just laid an egg and had something to say about it). The guy downstairs told my husband that the couple has asked him what he thinks and invited him up onto the deck to see if he could smell the chickens. Apparently they all agree, they can smell it.

I think they're full of it. The chickens have been here for about 3 weeks and we've only had a few rainy days. It's been relatively dry. They have an 8' fence on their side, but they can see into our property from the deck. There is a big cherry tree between them and the chickens and a bit of yard, too. My husband is going to take them half a dozen eggs later today, but he thinks it's too late - their opinion has already been formed.

Right now the chickens have their regular coop and a temporary enclosure. We will be starting on their more permanent pen soon. What can we further do to appease these neighbours and cut down on "smell" and noise? I'm thinking a covered enclosure to keep it dry (is it true poop only stinks when wet?). I'm not sure about noise because they really just wander around quietly clucking on occasion and only complain about life when they lay eggs (and I think it's only one who really squawks).
If chickens are now allowed in your area, and your keeping the chicken coop/run clean, then there isn't much your neighbors can do. Sounds to me like you have a neighbor that wants something to complain about. As far as noise, chickens don't make much more noise than wild birds. I could think of worse things to listen to, like the neighbor lady yelling from her house that you chickens are to loud.
Sand in the run is good and pine shavings in the coop and I can't imagine how they could smell it. Anyway if animal control can't smell it from their deck I doubt they'll do anything. Some people are such joy-killers.
I agree with the rest--a covered run will not only minimize smell but keep your chickens happy during bad weather since they won't be stuck in the coop. You can also put DE or stall-dri down, it will help "dry up" the poo and keep any smells down. It does sound like they neigbors are the type that like to complain, but at least you'll know you've done your best to be a good neighbor.
I agree that sand is the best route for easy clean-up in the run. Other than that, if you're cleaning up droppings regularly, then six birds couldn't be creating too much smell. I also agree that a covered run will go far with helping keep the run dry (therefore less stinky), and will make it easier to clean too... B*tching for some people just makes life worthwhile...
x2. And I'd still give them the eggs. Can't hurt and may help. Oh and the insulation on ur permanent coop will help contain any egg songs.
and best of luck with ur neighbors. Try to have fun anyway:weee
Granted, my chickens haven't started laying yet... BUT, I can think of way worse to listen to. Such as my neighbor's dogs who bark non stop and jump on the metal gate until 3am every night that he works the graveyard shift, which is at least 3-4 nights a week.

I'd still give them the eggs, but if you are allowed to have chickens, and you are doing your part to keep the area clean... they really don't have a leg to stand on.
Good suggestions in this thread about reducing the potential for actual smells coming from your run. I'm afraid there's nothing you can do about the smell your neighbors imagine they're smelling, though.
I have to agree, some people are born to complain. I have 6 chickens, with a coop and run that is approximately 20 feet from my bedroom window, and our deck where we have coffee and dinner for most of summer. I have a somewhat sensitive stomach, and wouldn't be able to eat if I could smell chicken poop (the smell of ketchup makes me nauseous). I can't smell a darn thing in my yard unless it has rained. Do your best to clean the coop on a regular basis (which I'm sure you'd do anyway), use pine shavings, and construct the run with a roof so that at least part of it will stay dry (your chickens will appreciate it on rainy days). As for egg songs, you're adding ambiance to the neighborhood!


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