Friday, July 17, 2009

An opportunity

~Shannon holding Ann Bancroft, our Dark Brahma hen~

When we made the decision to get chickens, more specifically hens, it wasn't without thought. In fact, an entire year's worth of thought, research, reading, learning, and more research went into it. We saw it as an opportunity. An opportunity to help produce more of our own food, to be more connected with the Earth, to teach our children about nature, where food comes from, and some nice biology lessons too. We saw it as an opportunity to take another step along our path of self-reliance and self-sustainability. We saw it as an opportunity to perhaps help show others that might not know about keeping chickens that you can do so without ruining the neighborhood. That it can bring neighbors together.
Unfortunately, as happens sometimes, it didn't bring all our neighbors together. As you know, one neighbor out-right hates us for not living the way she thinks we ought to: cooped up inside the house with windows always down, never venturing into the yard except to pick up a stray stick, and with landscaping that isn't over a couple inches high unless it is a tree. If she wants to (or anyone for that matter) live that way - go for it we say, but it isn't for us.
So now, today, we got our official letter from the City about the chickens since "technically" their illegal. We, of course, are going to try and convince City Council to ammend Zoning regulations to allow residents to keep a small, well-kept, backyard flock of hens.
Despite the instinctive reaction to run into my room, throw myself onto the bed, and cry into my pillow (or to go next door and just kick some butt), I'm going to see this as an opportunity.
An opportunity to learn more how the City works, to be involved in our community, to try and affect change. An opportunity to show our children all of those things, and to allow them to be part of it. To hear your 5 1/2 year old and your 3 year old say "Please don't let them take our chickens" breaks your heart. I might as well be shooting Old Yeller. So, it's an opportunity to show them that when there is something you really believe in, you do everything you can to support it.
It is an opportunity for us to become more involved in our community, and that community doesn't end with City lines, it is world-wide. That is inspiring.

1 comment:

Jeff Hoyt said...

My wife and I were among your petition signers last year. We have hesitated getting chickens until the city made a determination on the legal status of chickens. Most of the city has lots large enough to keep 4 to 6 hens. I can't believe they are a problem with your neighbor. I can see from your blog that they are well cared for, clean and provide fertilizer for your garden.

I want to attend any hearings the city holds on keeping chickens. I think you should contact Andy Schneider at for information on fighting city hall. He lives in Georgia and has helped others in their fights to raise backyard chickens. I would also suggest that you review the forum section on to see what other people have done to get their cities to allow chickens.

Look forward to your future posts on this subject.