I posted this on my other blog, but since I began the chicken saga here as well, I thought I should finish it and not leave you all hanging. So, here it is:
This post was supposed to be full of chipper advice about the wonders of Freecycle. On Freecycle, I found shingles for my chicken coop roof, paint for the walls, and wire for the enclosure. My hens have finished their molting (mostly) and we've been getting three eggs daily. The whole family loves the chickens, and we've had so much fun watching them and just enjoying them.
However. This past Monday I went before the City Council to plead for my hens...and was turned down. Because last year, the citizens of this city informed the City Council that chickens in the city were Not Acceptable - apparently, they are noisy, smelly, and the eggs (!) attract rats - and so the new zoning regulation that would have permitted them was defeated.
And despite the fact that MY chickens are quiet, clean, don't smell, and don't attract rats, there are No Exceptions. Not here.
Chicago will allow you to keep an unlimited number of chickens in the city (as long as they are for pets or eggs, not slaughter). Toledo, Ohio allows chicken owners to get a variance from the City Health Inspector, an exception to the prohibition against "farm animals" in the city. But not here. Apparently, these people know better.
The next time these people are walking behind their dogs with little baggies of poop (or wishing that their neighbors would), I hope they think about the fact that chickens don't poop in other people's yards.
The next time a dog barks madly at three a.m. right next door, I hope they think about the fact that hens never make a noise louder than a t.v. or a noisy a.c. unit, and that only during the day.
The next time they shake their heads about the filthy yard full of cats and dogs (or one dog, or whatever) down the street, I hope it crosses their mind that it is FILTH that attracts rats, not chickens. I find the assumption that I would allow my chickens to be filthy really quite insulting. (And, by the way, I don't leave the eggs in the coop. We bring them in the house and eat them ourselves, silly people.)
But, there is no reasoning with Concerned Citizens. So, having cried in front of the City Council ("Clearly this is a very emotional issue for you." they said. As though no rational person would be frustrated or upset at having to give up their pets because other people are being ridiculous.), as well as the Mayor, I'm re-homing my chickens. And to everyone who will sleep better at night as a result, I wish a dog next door who barks at three a.m.