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Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Carlos142, Feb 17, 2011.
Good luck with everything I hope all works out!
I am sending you a personal message. -
Thank you. Fingers crossed it does.
Update: Last night was a marathon discussion on the chicken issue. Made longer by yours truly after I "outed" myself as a underground chicken keeper. I felt the need to stand up and speak after listening to all the misinformation being tossed around about how chickens "smell" and how hens are loud. And that there would be poopy run off. I swear it was pissing me off. Granted, not more so than the fact that I even felt the need to be there in the first place.
Best qoute of the night came from a councilor "I wish that this hadnt been brought before the council, then we could just let folks, like you continue under the radar" Said to me
I am hoping that I can get a special permit to keep my current girls until they pass on their own of old age. Should this go poorly. And I think it will go against chicken keeping. And in all honesty, the painfully poor preparedness of the city councilor that brought this forward would be to blame.
So now I have found myself in a position that I could loose my pets of 5 years. The ones that I have loved and raised since a day old. Not for "food" or "egg production" so that I could "feed my family". But as cool pets that I could have to teach my daughter about care, compassion and being different. That they happen to lay eggs that can be eaten and used in baking etc is just a bonus. Now I find myself needing to educate the city council entirely. And sadly even the one that brought this to the table in the first place.
Chickens are NOT for everyone. And I get where the people speaking, and voting against the ordinance change are coming from. Chickens are NOT cheap pets. They are "easy" in some ways, but the set up for them is close to that of a horse. As can be the care and worry. So I am throwing myself full on into this. The people that want chickens are not going to like my views or recommendations to the council. But if you/they want to have chickens you are going to have to deal with it. I am going to let the council know everything that is involved. I am going to pull no punches. I am going to play devils advocate.
For everyone in the city of Fitchburg that already HAS pet chickens in their backyards. Please feel free to email me via BYC. I will not "out" you because I am now living your fear and frankly it f'ing sucks, I get why, if you were there you kept your mouths shut and let me throw my self and my girls under the bus. I also get why you didnt come. I wish I hadnt. But whats done is done.
My name will be in the news paper. And it's not a common name like Smith. I am sure to be getting people stoppin by driving by etc. And am not entirely looking forward to it. I am looking forward to dispelling some of the myths and bs that I heard last night though.
It sounds like the building commissioner was referring to commercial operations. I wouldn't go to a building commissioner to ask about animals, I'd go to your city's Animal Control Officer ("dog officer") because he or she is required by the state to keep a census ("Barn Book") of all livestock and poultry kept within the municipality. That info is sent to the state agriculture office (Dept. of Agricultural Resources), which in turn makes the information available to the USDA. So, the animal control person would know if there are other overt chicken keepers, and whether it's "legal."
Your city Board of Health/Sanitation may also have the ordinances regarding keeping poultry and livestock. Again, there should be a difference between commercial regulations, and pet/backyard matters.
It's weird that people can allow yards full of pooping, barking, biting dogs, but a few quiet, docile hens sets them off. It's an education vs. ignorance thing. People think of chickens as farm animals and a symbol of "primitive" and "backward" societies. They like to think that they are more urbane and civilized. lol
I bet if you look at the municipality website they all support "LEED principles". What a joke that is. Governments seems to be confused as to what green living is!
There were other chicken keepers in the audience who did choose not to speak. It is a complicated issue, most definitely. The problem, like with everything that involves the masses, it is hard to please everyone and be able to accommodate all needs. I remember reading a blog (maybe "savefitchburg.org" or something like that) where people were discussing budget cuts.
I distinctly remember them discussing having to lay off police officers and someone commented that instead, they would like to see half the teachers laid off because they had already raised their children who are now grown. I was so struck by that note and it made me appreciate how difficult it must be to get to consensus for public officials (though I don't think impossible). Here you have a person who has benefitted from a system (schools in this case) proposing to basically nix it in half b/c they no longer utilize that benefit. But others do. Why is it so hard for people to try to appreciate what others have to deal with or feel are priorities?
Yes, it is probably really frustrating and beyond annoying to have what you feel like are "newbies on the block" essentially messing up the order of things by even proposing a formal arrangement with the city. This is unfortunate. I feel the order of things should really be to have rights and not infringe on other people's rights.
Personally, I will continue to support you and others who wish to keep your rights. I agree, it sucks that a non-issue for you has become an issue in the public domain. But it is also true that it IS an issue for others AND more importantly, no one wants to have the threat of someone coming to take their birds. You feel threatened now. We'd feel threatened all the time.
I am hopeful that there is time to have a voice and make changes to the draft points in the ordinance. Again, the Planning Board made some unreasonable recommendations I thought that I told you about before, but they are just that, recommendations. We have to push back on some of these points to make it more accessible and attainable.
It would be great if all the current chicken keepers would put their energy and knowledge into helping the new people who want to start with chickens, and into making this ordinance something that will benefit everyone who wants to keep chickens in Fitchburg. The city councilors don't need more information on how much work chickens are... that will just jeopardize the ordinance and put all chicken keepers (current an aspirational) at risk.
Chicken keepers: please use your power for good, and join the process constructively. You have a lot of experience and knowledge to share. Don't play "devil's advocate" -- educate everyone in a positive way and help the city set ground-breaking backyard farming policy. People want chickens for many different reasons -- pets, eggs, sustenance, as part of an overall commitment to backyard farming, to educate their children, etc. Let's not question motivations, just embrace everyone's enthusiasm and help them do it in a humane, cleanly and neighborhood-building manner!
You should start and petition online so that we could sign it or just start one in your neck of the woods. I wish I could help but I don't know how.
I am planning a meeting at the Fitchburg library on Monday June 10th, 6-7:45pm in the Ethnic Heritage Room, for interested chicken folks to gather and organize to take action.
I am a local Fitchburg resident and hope to make Fitchburg a chicken friendly community. I love my chickens and want to maintain my right to raise them for my own use, and generally promote self-reliance and healthy living in our community.
This is a first meeting. I hope we can gather information from one another and together, develop an agenda and plan of action for Fitchburg chickens.
Please reply to this post or email me directly if you are planning on coming.
BTW, I am not promoting or selling any products. And I apologize for not being aware of the recent town council chicken deliberations.
Contact Marlain Beaudette 978-503-7672