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Chickens in the City

Posted by kimeryl (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 16, 08 at 20:16

Hi everyone, I could use some advice. I know that the urban chicken thing is hip and it totally fits my sensibility as far as "buying" local and controlling our own food source, but...

We have (bad) neighbors next door and I found out that they plan to come to us to ask our permission to have chickens. Their lot is right next to ours and the lots are not huge, typical city lots for Minneapolis. I guess they are required to get approval from 80% of the people living within 100 feet of their house, so that could mean 3 or 4 households including us.

Anybody know the down side? Racket beyond the normal dog bark sort of level? Messy? The guy is borderline nuts, very aggressive and every time he talks to me he tries to bully me rather than just ask for reasonable favors. I've been really decent to them, but he's just one of those bristly souls who's life isn't going the way he planned.

Short of just giving him a dose of his own medicine and refusing to allow it, I want to make sure that I'm educated about the pros and cons. Any opinions and/or experiences would be very helpful.

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Chickens in the City

Found this quoted on the linked website...

"Opponents of chicken-keeping said they fear that neighbors with chickens would affect property values and threaten the public health.

"Poultry in city limits is not a good idea," said Bob Schmidt of the Monroe County Health Department, citing risks of salmonella contamination and illnesses."

You will find tons of info if you google the phrase "keeping chickens in city limits".

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Chickens


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RE: Chickens in the City

I would object. They are noisy and messy, and rain runoff containing feces can cause disease in domestic dogs and cats. If he is a less than desirable neighbor now, how do you expect him to be reasonable when they are disturbing you months from now?

Is he the type to build a good looking coop and maintain it well? Plant nice shrubbery around it to screen and damper the sound? Doesn't sound like it. He sounds like the guy who will put up a scrap lumber and tin sheet structure that just screams "trash lives here".

Property values will suffer- if he wants a farm let him buy acreage so his livestock is surrounded by a buffer of land. Roosters cannot tell time and will wake you all hours of the day and night.

Once they get established they will be next to impossible to get rid of. Better to just head 'em off at the pass by refusing from the get go IMO.


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RE: Chickens in the City

Thanks for the ammunition, folks. He's a horrid neighbor with an eyesore of a property. They patched together a deck that looks like it will fall over any minute. Their yard is in shambles. I am quite confident that them having chickens would make things worse in every way. Unfortunately, they are on a corner lot, so their place is very visible and the appearance probably will already affect our property value.

I'm not crazy about making him an even less desirable neighbor by actually giving him something he will feel justified in being angry about. He just stopped by a few minutes ago with some "extra" green peppers from the market. Oh my, here we go. Still no direct request from him or his wife, but I know it's coming. I do tend to agree that it will be impossible to get rid of once they come. Any chicken-in-the-city sympathizers care to weigh in?

Thanks!


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RE: Chickens in the City

Roosters tend to crow early in the morning.

Chickens do fight now and then--noisily.

Add that to the other info so far.

I say do not sign for him to get them.


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RE: Chickens in the City

Thanks so much for the support. Now I just need to deal with my neighbor - I'll give you all a call when he shows up with the request! It's pretty clear to me that even with wonderful neighbors, this would at least be a conversation. With this neighbor, it's clear to me that it would be the start of one more in a series of many other disasters.
Kim


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RE: Chickens in the City

I wouldn't oppose him, but I would tell him that you are concerned about odors and noise.

No roosters. And he must carefully contain the birds and their poo.


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RE: Chickens in the City

We are not in the city and there's not much I don't know about keeping chickens, as we've done so for 30 years. Here are some points against:

noise: even if they don't keep roosters, which are prohibited in most urban areas, a hen makes a mighty 'cluck cluck cluck' when she lays her egg. Which will happen every 20 hours for most of the year.

smell: unless the people are meticulous about cleaning up the droppings, you are in for a real treat (NOT!!) when the wind comes out of that quarter. You can eat through tin with chicken poop, given enough time. I kid you not.

vermin: chicken feed, eggs and baby chicks are magnets snakes, & rats. Also such as skunks, feral cats, and raccoons. Don't kid yourself, those things DO manage to make a living in suburbia. They all carry disease.

coccidiosis is spread through bird droppings, including chickens.

If they 'free-range" or escape their pen, expect your flower beds to be scratched up, your vegetable garden to get eaten, your trees to be roosting sites, and the escapees to breed freely. What is that place in the Florida Keys that is infested with wild game chickens? Now, I'd enjoy that, as I did on Kauai, but then I'm a bit weird.

I appreciate our chickens. But those confined to a life in a cage/pen, well, they don't serve much purpose (to me) except to provide eggs...which aren't one whit better nor cheaper than what you'll buy in a store because they are confined and only eating prepared/purchased feed. (perhaps a bit of scraps, but not enough to be significant to the end product.) It is free-range chickens that live happy healthy and utterly productive lives. That can't be managed in urban settings.
j


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RE: Chickens in the City

Thanks Jerri, it's good to hear from a chicken-lover! These people can't keep their yard clean without pets! We are definitely going to say "no" and let the chips fall as they may. They won't be more pleasant neighbors for it now, but I suspect the chickens would bring new opportunities for trouble and we're better off just facing it head-on now. Sometimes I think I'd like to move to the country where the nearest neighbor is miles away. Then I remind myself that most of our neighbors are great. Thanks again for all the assistance on this.


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RE: Chickens in the City

You're welcome. oh, and I forgot to mention the real possibility of flea infestation. Mites too. And coccidiosis transfers between species so can pose a health hazard to your pets as well as people.

Trouble now or trouble later. Problem neighbors will find a way to give you some :~)
j


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RE: Chickens in the City

Our neighbors have chickens and honestly I don't even notice the roosters crowing or any sort of noise from them at all. Don't notice any smell either. We had chickens when I was kid in our back yard and don't recall any complaints from the neighbors. They were kept clean and well cared for tho and that sounds like it would be an issue in your case.

Lisa


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RE: Chickens in the City

We live in a metropolitan area that prohibits chickens within the city limits- no exceptions. A neighbor on our street decided to raise some chickens and yes 6 homes away I could hear the roosters. They could fly over the fencing and several were ran over because they would run into the road.
The smell was pretty bad and he probably had less than 15 chickens.
We have a hard time with our Animal Control taking action and many neighbors called and complained. Animal Control never came out but the police did when a pedestrian was struck by a car that swerved to miss the chickens when they darted out onto the street.
That neighbor is still battling with lawsuits from the pedestrian that was hit (thankfully not severely injured) and the driver of the car. Not to mention the city violations he had to pay.


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RE: Chickens in the City

In addition to everything that has already been said, I'd want to know why he is keeping chickens. Does he want fresh eggs? How about meat? Or is he planning on becoming involved with cockfighting even though it is illegal?

At least I assume it is illegal where you live.


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RE: Chickens in the City

I love chickens in the backyard, but if you're talking seriously small city lots, the chickens will have to be pretty well confined, and your neighbor might as well just buy organic (still caged) eggs, as Jerri mentioned. You can buy a lot of organic eggs for a long time for what it will reasonably cost to purchase, house, and maintain a few hens.

I would think roosters would absolutely be a no-go in close quarters, because roosters tend to crow whenever they feel like it, regardless of what the sun might be up to. I've had some who rarely make a peep, and some who spend every minute of every loving day looking for a reason to crow.

If your neighbor has already proven to be irresponsible, I wouldn't trust him to maintain chickens in a way that would be respectful and appropriate for his neighbors. If your neighbor wasn't already proving to be a bad egg, I could see a dedicated backyard chicken owner being able to make do with a roomy tractor and good husbandry on even a very small lot. It just doesn't seem like you think he's the type. Stick with your gut.


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RE: Chickens in the City

You might want to talk to some of the other neighbors and come up with a consensus of opinion. That way he won't just be mad at you. Also, if everyone else says "ok," and you say "no," you might not be 80 percent and he could have the chickens.


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RE: Chickens in the City

As a teenager I kept three tiny Bantam chickens in a coop with had a large, well-wired run. The rooster was loud and I loved hearing his crows. The heavy mosquito problem we had almost complete disappeared. There was no problem with odors with a tiny flock in a large area. My hens were so tame, that I only had to hold out a hand, and they would fly onto it and eat corn. I loved watching my hens go about their daily lives of bug hunting and egg laying. Great life lessons for a young person and a good family project.

Now I live in the country and have a large flock of free-ranging chickens. Jerri's advice is very adequate. Though our chickens spend most of their time running free, they sleep in a shed at night. Yes, the dirt floor is unpleasant looking with the droppings, but the odor isn't bad. If a large flock of chickens are locked in a small coop all day, then the odor can build up and predators are attracted.

If your neighbor had been friendly and responsible, I would have suggested he try tiny Bantams in a large, well-kept wire run. The run would need a wire roof because Bantams fly VERY well.


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RE: Chickens in the City

Thanks so much for all the feedback on this issue. I am the sort of person who would like chickens in my backyard, so I do understand the appeal. For all my stewing over this matter, my neighbors have yet to approach us to ask about it, we heard that they were thinking about it from another neighbor. We are in a pretty densely-populated area, their yard is probably no bigger than 30' by 50', so I am thinking that would be considered a small space, right? So, I am still leaning toward no if it ever should come up.


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RE: Chickens in the City

our neighbors have chickens (they have several acres ) even though we are in the city. let me tell you- on a hot day in the summer the smell is OVERWELMING. Our kids won't even go over there to swim in their pool and play with their kids. They also attract foxes, raccoons, etc. Perhaps we would have them anyway but sometimes in the night we'll hear a god awful noise and find out the next day that a chicken was taken by an animal.

I too would love to have chickens but only on a farm where they would not be a bother to others.


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RE: Chickens in the City

I have a neighbor with three hens and they cause no problems to me although I'm not right next door. Very rarely do I hear them and it is a soft clucking that isn't a problem. Her dog is another story, it is one that barks furiously at anyone it sees and since they have chain link fencing, it sees a lot of people.

I had a neighbor right next door who was keeping pigeons and chickens and was slaughtering them in the yard and tossing the guts and refuse on a compost pile. That was a freaking disaster. The stench was horrific and it attracted rats. I had to call the city vector control guy and he shut them down right away. I also had a loose hen in my yard and found an entire leg with foot attached in my pond. Likely from a raccoon.

Roosters are not allowed in our city at all but my brother's neighbors had at least one and it was obnoxious until they ate it.


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speaking of smells...

I think chicken manure is one of the worst smelling. We had a brooder in our high school agriculture classroom and thirty years later I still recall the stench.

I ride horses and some of the feed stores carry chicks in spring and they always reek.

The local nursery that has a few chickens running around does not stink though.

I had a doctor at one time whose office was at home and she had three hens in a large coop that did not stink.

I think it must depend on how many and how they are contained.


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RE: Chickens in the City

I wouldn't agree to chickens in city, country that is fine with their land for them to run and be free and not bother anyone. But city lots, that is a whole other story.

Also problems with dogs that run free and they kill the chickens and on and on it goes.

No, not a good idea at all.


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