Sunday, January 15, 2012

Urban Fervour; Poultry Panic

Chicken Family - on blog
I'm not a confrontational, politically passionate person.
Shameful admission? I guess that depends on your stance.

Morality is individual in this day and age, etc, etc.

With that preface over and done with, I'll launch into the post:

I'm the native and current inhabitant of a city which has recently decided to have a look over its bylaws surrounding pets and animals kept within the urban city limits.

Until a few weeks ago, one was only allowed to have three or fewer pets in one's household.
That's been repealed.
You can have as many kitty cats as your heart desires, according to the bylaw.

But goodness gracious, you certainly can't own a chicken.

Admittedly I have a limited practical sphere of experience with these creatures. I'm well aware that in large numbers they create a stink that will melt your face and make you most unpleasant and eager to shower.

I have, though, read some research. Research based on facts and all that stuff. Not just some city councillor's subjective, biased, personal experience.

Backyard chickens, it's feared, will spread disease.
In fact, there's plenty of evidence from people who know this sort of stuff that this danger is no greater from your (reasonably sized flock) of chickens than it is from your pet cat(s).

Noise level? Dogs are certainly louder than chickens! The decible level of hens, even in the "loud" times after laying their eggs, are the same as the decible level of people having a conversation.

So, I ask you out there:
(No matter where it is that you live:) Do you care one little bit about this issue, one way or the other?
Do you have any objective, or even subjective, information you can share about it?

Responsible pet ownership needs to apply to all animals people keep, and I'm just not sure that the reasons for banning urban chickens hold water, if people are held to certain reasonable standards.

And, a little bit of self-promo:
It's unlikely that any of you are Hamiltonians. If you are, and have anything to say about this issue, you can email your councillor.
Even better (for me, that is!) sign this petition if you agree with the stance.

Thanks to everyone for your input.

And now, back to knitting!


Wanderingcatstudio said...

I was really disappointed when I read that council had decide to ban them (I'm an ex-Hamiltonian, now living in West Niagara)
I grew up just outside of Ancaster and we had chickens (about 15). We had a fair amount of property, but a handful of chickens on you average city lot is no more unhygienic or smelly than a large dog - like any pet you have to clean up after them and take care of them.
It just shows how short-sighted Hamilton council is (something they sadly do on a regular basis)

meredith MC said...

I live in Eugene, Oregon. We have a law which allows a person to have 4 hens in the city limits. Even so, a neighbor of mine had a modest flock of 12 in her backyard, and I enjoyed buying eggs from her organically and lovingly raised hens. She moved out to the country where she could properly grow her flock, and I really miss her. Her chickens were clean, and I visited several times and never noticed an odor problem. She was very conscientious about their care, and she gave me some wonderful organic chicken compost which made my garden happy. I'm definitely pro-chicken, as long as they are properly cared for. The people who shouldn't have chickens are the same ones who shouldn't have other pets. It takes responsibility to care for another living creature.

Nyssa Jayne said...

I am generally pro-chicken. My parents did have some neighbours who kept chickens but weren't that tidy about it, which meant that lots of other birds were often in the neighbourhood, eating up what the chickens left over, which in turn had all the neighbourhood dogs yapping. (I didn't mind so much, those eggs were delicious).

Mom IsAmagpie said...

Team Chicken and responsible ownership here! I wanted some last spring but it didn't happen hopefully this year.
I care enough to have not bought a home in another better located town because of their anti-chicken laws.

Erin Heather said...

Now I want a chicken. (I live on the mountain.)

Unknown said...

That's distressing. I live in Los Angeles, and there are plenty of suburban flocks here. I will admit to objecting somewhat to the neighbor's rooster, if only because we sleep with the windows open in the summer and that bird is very loud at 5am. But honestly, the two pit bulls next door are far more disruptive than that living alarm clock.

It all comes down to appropriate care of the animals that depend on you. A reasonable number of chickens for the space, well cared for, will be easier to live with than dogs that roam the neighborhood or bark all night because they're being neglected.

Michelle said...

I am actually allergic to chicken dander, but I am pro-chickens. I think that responsible hen ownership should be allowed in yards of an appropriate size. I think there are reasonable limits to flock size too, as people in the city shouldn't be subject to living suddenly beside a farm (noise, smell, dust, etc. can all be issues).

My relatives in Sudbury had a flock (10-20 hens and some roosters) that they had for several years until a neighbour complained and they were given a week to get rid of them.