Some cry foul over resurgence of backyard chickens

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by gmendoza, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — Joe and Sheila Papay look around anxiously as she slowly opens the door to the fluorescent yellow coop in their backyard, releasing nine scurrying chickens onto the lawn.

    Brown, spotted and black hens quickly fan out across their south Chandler lot. An orange Araucana claws in the dirt, hunting for an afternoon snack, as the Papays' two younger children scatter corn kernels.

    The couple talks about the legal troubles they're facing as a result of the chickens, an experiment that began last December with four hens. They wanted to be more eco-friendly and reap the nutritious benefits of farm-fresh eggs.

    Joe Papay, who's looking to see if any neighbors are watching over the wall, said they had no idea it's illegal to keep backyard chickens in much of Chandler. They're appealing a criminal charge and fighting to keep the birds they call pets.

    "We've got quite a force of people who are behind us and want chickens," he said of clandestine chicken owners in suburban Chandler. "It's like an underground society."

    Like many who've joined the growing ranks of backyard chicken farmers, the Papays are accused of running afoul of city zoning laws. Chandler code-enforcement officers say the family is violating an ordinance prohibiting chickens in most residential areas.

    Hundreds of Phoenix-area farmers have faced nuisance and zoning violations after neighbors have complained about smelly coops or clucking hens. Often complainants feel poultry poses a health risk or just doesn't belong near residences — claims chicken owners vehemently dispute.

    Similar cases across the Valley highlight the code-enforcement headache cities face as a result of a national movement toward urban agriculture. A push for locally raised, environmentally sustainable foods is clashing with more traditional expectations of how neighborhoods should sound, look and smell.

    Cities have approached the chicken-farming trend with varying degrees of resistance and acceptance. Proponents of the chickens say several cities, including Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale, have relatively friendly ordinances, meaning they don't prohibit the practice outright in residential areas.

    Other cities, such as Chandler and Glendale, take a far more restrictive approach. Both cities ban chickens in many neighborhoods, with exceptions for those with more rural or agricultural-type zoning overlays.

    But nearly every city bans roosters outright or implicitly because their crows would violate most any noise ordinance — and rattle neighbors hoping to sleep in on a Saturday morning.

    Phoenix requires owners to receive written permission from their neighbors or keep their coops at least 80 feet from the nearest home. It leads to sometimes delicate negotiations between annoyed neighbors and chicken enthusiasts, talks that can be smoothed over with baskets of fresh eggs or end in bitter code-enforcement fights.

    Patrick Ravenstein, Phoenix's code-compliance manager, said the city has noticed more people raising chickens in their backyards. The city reported about 540 poultry-related violations last year — a more than 65 percent increase from the number five years ago, according to a city database.

    Although city officials don't encourage or try to combat urban chicken farming, their goal is to get neighbors to communicate and compromise. Owners can often avoid citations by simply moving a coop to a different part of their backyard or making other adjustments.

    "You have two people with two different ways of life maybe trying to live in the same neighborhood," Ravenstein said. "It can be difficult. Sometimes people don't know their neighbors."

    Chicken owners and their supporters say it's a matter of fighting misconceptions. The Valley Permaculture Alliance, a group of urban-farming enthusiasts, has taken on the issue, attempting to persuade cities and the public that chicken farming, when done responsibly, is sanitary, economical and environmentally green.
     
  2. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    During the great depression, every sensible person had a backyard garden and some chickens. This was part of survival during hard economic times. Americans have enjoyed a level of prosperity over the last several decades that has allowed them to focus their attention on more frivolous pursuits rather then on the basic essentials of life and it has gotten to the point that a lot of Americans no longer have any common sense about these issues. Because we have the luxury of not having to struggle for survival on a daily bases in this country, we have all but lost the practical understanding and basic skills necessary to do so.

    I have a life long background in basic survival. At the age of six, I could go fishing by myself, tie my own hooks on, find natural bait, catch fish, clean them, start a fire with a single match and cook and eat the fish I caught. Because of my profession, I deal personally hundreds of people a year here in the US. It is with great sadness that I have to say, that maybe one out of every thousand Americans that I have met can do what I could do at six years old. Most six year old kids in this country are not even allowed to touch a knife, much less carry a real pocket knife and know how to clean fish with it.

    I remember years ago taking my seven year old to a city part to play. His older brother had carved him a crude play knife out of a broken shovel handle and he was playing with it. Two other kids (8 or 9 yr old) saw it and wanted to play with it and my son, who was taught to share, let them. The mother of the other kids quickly grabbed then toy and marched over to me and began to chew me out about how irresponsible of a parent I was for letting me child play with such a "DANGEROUS TOY" and how she would never allow her boys to play with a deadly weapon like that. As I sat there quietly, trying not to bust out laughing as this total stranger declared publicly that she was such an incompetent parent that she could not even trust her children with a piece of wood, my mind went back to the time I lived with a tribe of Amazon Indians and how it was common for me to see 6 and 7 year old kids expertly using razor sharp machetes and chopping wood with a adult size ax. I wondered what those natives would have thought about this woman who was afraid of her sons hurting themselves with a piece of wood. I am sure they would have gotten a good laugh out of it. The one thing that bothered me, was not the crazy woman yelling at me, but that all the other parents at the park were shaking their heads in agreement with what the woman was saying. It was then that I realized how far separated from the reality of the basics of life that Americans have become.

    This discussion of whether people should be able to raise chickens in their own backyards is just as ridicules as that woman yelling at in the park that day. Go to any third world country where people are struggling to survive and ask them if they think people should be allowed to raise chickens in their own backyards. They would probably not be able to answer you due to the fit of uncontrollable laughter they were in because of the total stupidity of the question you were asking them. I have lived in third world countries for 25 years of my life and I have never once heard this question come up.

    We consider ourselves to be smart, and yet we have all but lost our common sense. I once watched a debate between two doctors about whether it was safer to leave the eggs in the carton or put them in door of the refrigerator. In the end they agreed that it was safer to leave the eggs in the carton, because putting them in the door would expose them to temperature differences that could promote to the growth of salmonella. I was rolling on the floor laughing by the end of it because of the absolute stupidity of the question. I mean, what about the 7.BILLION people in the world who don't even have a refrigerator to keep their eggs in?!! I lived in the Amazon for 15 years without a refrigerator where the temperature ranges from 100 degrees in the day to 75 at night and ate eggs from my flock everyday. I never once got salmonella and never saw anybody else get it either. I can tell you that you can leave an egg at those temperatures for up to two weeks before it will spoil though.

    Because of the luxurious standard of living Americans enjoy, (compared to the rest of the world) the American society has totally lost touch with the realities of the basics of life. The question is not whether people should be allowed to raise chickens in their own backyards. The real question is, what has gone so wrong with American society that we even have to ask this question?
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
    7 people like this.
  3. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bravo,friend...bravo.I as you am one thatlikes to keep basic survival as close to me as my wallet.and teach my kids the same.
     
  4. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. BMaverick

    BMaverick Out Of The Brooder

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    In a generation or two, will things revert back or go extremely away from farming in this country?

    Living in a town or city has benefits, but also the problems. Being in the burbs isn't fun either. And now in some rual areas, neighbors from city life move in and are demanding that the farmers clean up their land or else answer to the EPA, FDA or other governement agencies. It seems that being a backyard farmer or a family farm isn't well protected in America.
     
  6. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    city folk comming into our areas will need edification before they can realise they are not the kings of where we have lived in most of our lives.remember, laws are to protect,extra laws will undue. power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.city folk dont know how we farm folk live and work.we live and work for our lives,for our family.they expect us to be like them,well they need to be like us.Its like hard working ants realise one day wasps moved in next door.I get riled up by it because ive seen it and been a part of city,county and state law making.being a designer i have seen eminent domain,and such old obscure laws against farmers and off the grid dwellers that I have no tollerance toward city folk moving into our rural areas and demand laws be changed for their delicate sensibilities.
     
  8. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I have a complete family history dating all the way back to the 1400s. I am descended from some of the original pilgrims to this land. They came to this land trying to escape the over regulation of where they lived. There was a saying that was common amongst the original pilgrims and founders of this nation and it has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. It goes like this, "The government the governs best, is the government that governs the least." This ideology survived in this nation all the way up until FDR and the new deal. I think that our founders would weep at what has become of the dream they sacrifices so much and gave their lives for.
     
  9. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well I cant date only to 1503 when Don Gabriel Sebastino Arce De Mendoza sent his family here to the west coast of America to get away from the spanish inquisition.we were jews being tortured by catholics.we were called cryptojews for worshiping in the tombs and crypts.shephardic jews.we bought catholic candels because that was the only ones available.Don Gabriel Sebastiano Arce De Mendoza was on trial for heracy,tortured and either drawn and quarters and evicerated or burned at the stake for his natural healing abilities. This is where I get my name.further than that is kinda sketchy..we were vistigoths but cannot go further back than 900 ad....oh well.My ancestor believed in freedom and independence for all.at all costs.
     
  10. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    As people get hungrier, they will be more tolerant of keeping livestock in the city. The last great depression lasted thirteen years, and it took World War II to end it.

    I was thinking of starting a little rabbit operation in my backyard, but after reading up on rabbits, I do not think they could take the heat.
     

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