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Unreasonable City Councils Options
#1 Posted : Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:37:45 PM
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City Chicken Laws.  Don't give up, Verity.  Try new arguments, and try talking to each person on the subcommittee individually.  Be patient, and respectful of their points of view about keeping chickens in town.  In many cases, the problem is that no one has ever bothered to make a distinction between large "livestock" such as cows or horses, and small "livestock" such as poultry.  Clearly having a flock of chickens next door poses different concerns than having a herd of cattle. 

The argument that I think is often the most compelling is to ask them to compare their city laws about poultry to their laws about dogs.  Poultry and livestock laws for cities are usually based on concerns about nuisances such as noise or odor/flies. Dogs are probably at greater risk to cause such nuisances than chickens.  So, do the city's laws require people to keep their dogs 150 feet from their neighbors?  If not, why not?  I think it possible that city laws that don't treat chickens in a manner similar to how dogs are treated may be unconstitutional (we are looking for an attorney or law student to help us research this topic.)  

                                                                                        --Cheryl Long, Mother Earth News

#2 Posted : Friday, November 14, 2008 5:04:02 PM
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How would you like to have more than 5-acres in semi rural CO about 40 miles outside of Denver on the eastern plains and not be allowed chickens?

Seems they are OK with the county but, way back in the late 60's and early 70's when this ranch land was platted out it seems that the decision was made to allow a few dogs, cats and horses but nothing else in the CCR.  Yes CCR on open range land but only in CO can this happen.

Several neighbors who had chickens for years and years were taken to court and lost thousands of dollars in the fights against a BOD that has a Highlands Ranch (the blight of CO) mentality that this should be all Yuppie and follow the strick rules set down way back when. 

Why it has been illegal to even telecommute to a job here and do much more than waste the land.

We're even permitted servents (slave) quarters but better not have a chicken coop.

Change the rules you say.  Well, you can't get  2/3 of the slugs off their butts to do much at all and besides, chickens will ruin property values according to city think.

The horses strip the land bare but that is OK. 

It use to be in this community that neighbors helped neighbors and no one bothered about a few chickens, heck getting fresh eggs was a plus of having a neighbor with chickens, sort of a fair trade of services or something for eggs, you all here know about that.

We've been trying for at least 10-years to allow chickens and even evil llamas and alpacas as they have little impact on the land but the 'city folk' who are kept in power on the BOD have ruled that only wasteful and destructive is allowed on this beautiful CO countryside.



John Rockhold
#3 Posted : Monday, November 17, 2008 9:08:46 PM
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hello, World!

#4 Posted : Tuesday, January 27, 2009 5:54:14 PM
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In most cities you can ask for an exception for yourself, which will allow you to keep a limited number of chickens. In a city near me in West Michigan, a family got an exception to raise 3 chickens as a learning experience for their kids. It was a suburban area with plenty of yard space for the chickens, not an inner city micro lot. (In my area a backyard is commonly 50x60 feet.) Well, the exception was temporary and it expired and the family's kids were in tears because they had to give up the chickens, which they had grown very attached to.
#5 Posted : Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:03:20 PM
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Hi, Verity!  I live across the river from you, in Hamilton, IL.  I fought a similar battle with the City Council over here about 5 years ago, because after my neighbor had a couple of ducks for a year or two, we decided to add some to our yard.  Lo and behold, we got a letter from the chief of police, stating we were in violation of the livestock ordinance and had to get rid of the animals or face huge fines.....and our neighbor never received anything!   (To this day, they have never had the ordinance enforced on them, even though they have added geese to their collection.)  I had to go to some extremes just to be allowed to keep the pets we already had, and was told we would never be allowed to replace them when they died.  I wish I had an answer for you.  I took all sorts of logical arguments to the council, even wrote up an amendment to the ordinance for small animals (such as chickens, ducks, and rabbits), and it was all ignored.  One council member was very concerned because he wanted to know how I was going to keep them from getting PREGNANT and then ending up with too many and maybe butchering them in town....to say I was unimpressed is a MAJOR understatement!!!   Anyway, nice to know there's somebody over there in Keokuk who is interested in these kinds of things.  Would love to meet you some time.  Juanita
#6 Posted : Monday, February 09, 2009 10:15:26 PM
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This is a very good time to try to get these laws changed. This issue in out in mainstream media, and has public interest. I suggest contacting your local newspapers and Television News people and asking them to do a story on the issue. Also, start making your issue known in your area. Talk to people, start a letter writing campaign to the Mayor and City Council, get creative in your attempts to reach out to people who will be interested. Put up notices at pet, feed, and grocery stores. Keep trying with your city council, often it doesn't work on the first try, but will on later attempts. Educate yourself on other cities bylaws and codes that allow chickens, so that when the powers-that-be ask you questions about this, you have facts and reasonable information to confront them with. There is so much information on the internet that you can use to educate yourself about the pro-chicken cities and towns and their codes.
#7 Posted : Friday, June 04, 2010 3:06:35 AM
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I will be going before my city council in the next few weeks to address a similar issue. I have a little under an acre, approval of my neighbors, and the ability to verbally run circles around my opponents if I feel my cause is just. heaven help the beurocrats if they deny me. I will run and win in the next election and they will find themselves sitting next to me.  If I have any luck in my endeavors I will post a cheat sheet for anyone wishing to put up the same fight. Please fight this people. You have the RIGHT to chickens. You have the right to provide your own food. None of the insurance salesmen, realtors, and glorified housewives on these city councils have the right to interfere with your right to the pursuit of happiness. 

#8 Posted : Monday, August 02, 2010 2:36:00 AM
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It is important to remember that the majority of people who make zoning decisions do not have even a remote connection with farm animals, much less chickens.  Any methods that seek to overturn zoning laws must be based upon the unapologetic use of power and dirty tactics, when necessary.  The notion that citizens should wait, subserviently, with hat in hand, for decisions by underpaid bureaucrats regarding somthing as mundane as harboring a few hens in one's back yard should be considered unacceptable by elected officials as well as citizens.  Those who wish to raise chickens should band together.  Hire a private detective.  Look into the private lives of your elected officials.  Expose adultery.  Let everybody know when your mayor hangs around public restrooms, looking for sex.  Let every official know that you will confront them in public about their policies.  The next time you see your councilman at the grocery store, ask him by what right he refuses your right to raise a few chickens.  If he attempts to get away, make it ugly.  Block his path, scream and yell, chase him out to the parking lot.  Let him know you are going to do everything in your power to make sure he is not only defeated at the next election, but that you are going to destroy his or her reputation.  Stir up your community.  Inflame everybody you know against your council and their subordinates.  Boycott any businesses owned by your local politicians.  In short, make it warm for them until they cry uncle.

#9 Posted : Wednesday, June 22, 2011 2:56:41 PM
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I live in town, but in a rural area.  We're not allowed "livestock" in our yards.  Several years ago one of the neighbors was keeping a goose.  They were friends with our town manager so nothing was ever done about it.  I didn't care about the goose, actually never knew it was there.  But we do have another neighbor who has a dog (15 yrs, 2nd dog) that barks for hours - used to be 8-10 hrs per day until others called police multiple times.  Of course, the barking dog is allowed because these people are related to someone who owns a business in town.  I love dogs and have owned them in the past, but incessant barking is due to a lazy, inconsiderate owner.

Also, I find it strange that there are no noise regulations on those big, very noisy professional lawn mowers, especially when used at 8:00 am, but a couple of chickens or ducks would be considered a nuisance.

We have lots of people moving here from the urban areas.  They are supposedly leaving their former homes for someplace less hectic and more rural, but then they want everything to become what they just moved away from.  Lots of rules & fees.  They want everything to be upgraded to be "prettier" so the tourists will come here.   There will be less chance of having chickens/ducks etc as these small towns turn into mini-cities.  We already have a town that now caters only to the wealthy - boutiques, high end restaurants etc.  We've lost the small local businesses.

It would be good to have a list of states, counties etc that are not so obsessive about rules.  Maybe those folks that had some success could start such a list.   It would be good to know for several reasons, but also could be used as a point in requesting a variance.




#10 Posted : Wednesday, June 22, 2011 7:18:59 PM
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Check your laws carefully. Where we live in Alabama, livestock is not allowed in the city. However, the definition of livestock does not include chickens. Chickens are considered pets. Read the code to make sure chickens are "livestock." Don't just take some bloated bureaucrat's word for it. /WorkArea/threadeddisc/emoticons/biggrin.png
#11 Posted : Wednesday, June 22, 2011 9:00:27 PM
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In Rockwell City. Iowa another small town there was several small poultry flocks.  The properties have been sold to new owners; poultry no longer allowed by city council.  I am not ready to fight the city council.  Iowa City is allowing female poultry under 10 head.

 Rabbits and ponies are residing in the city limits.   I enjoy showing poultry at an area fair and state fair. Bought rare Bantam and LaFleche chicks; started them in basement; they are outside in special rabbit cages.  The manure makes a great addition to the garden.

Sac County Fair open class poultry show is July 27-30.  Broilers will be going to processor, then freezer after that show and the others will be going to the Iowa State Fair Avenue of Breeds in the swine barn.  The dairy goat herd is housed outside the city limits and will be in competition the last 4 days of the fair.  If any readers of this post attend the Ia State Fair; the goat herd is on the brick wall just south of the west swine show ring.  We can talk poultry, goats and city council laws. 

Verity Brown
#12 Posted : Wednesday, June 22, 2011 9:00:27 PM
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Last year I attempted to get the city council in my small Midwestern town (Keokuk, Iowa; pop. 11,000) to change the regulations regarding chickens. The current regulation states that all livestock must be located 150 feet from any neighbor's dwelling. This effectively prevents anyone from keeping any livestock within the city limits. I have a half-acre lot on the edge of town, with houses on only three sides, but there is no place on my property that is 150 feet from any neighbor's home.

I made a very detailed presentation to the city council, requesting that the distance be reduced for chickens, and at least some of the members appeared to feel that I had a point. But the subject was referred to the code-writing subcommittee. At this point, I began to be stonewalled: when I requested to know when the subcommittee and/or the council was going to address the issue, no one seemed to have an answer. After several months, I discovered that the item had finally been addressed (no one bothered to let me know this was happening), and that the subcommittee had decided arbitrarily that it was a bad idea and recommended that the council not change the ordinance. End of story.

At this point I feel very frustrated. I don't know if it's even worth my while to try again, since there appear to be a number of influential people who have an unreasonable prejudice against city chickens. The facts mean nothing to these people. What's a person to do?
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