Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chickens And The Neighbors Who Hate Them

I love chickens. They are easier to deal with than dogs or cats. All of my dogs and cats have had emotional issues that I do not have the patience to deal with. Chickens on the other hand are wonderful in their simplicity. I do not doubt that they are just as capable of being emotional, they just aren't the attention whores that dogs and cats are.

My favorite chicken in the world was a Golden Laced Polish Hen named Tina. Tina came to us as a foster bird. She had been so terribly pecked by the other chickens where she lived that she had to be separated. She was very social and loved to be held. She knew when I returned from the farm that I would have greens for her. She loved kale. It was by far her favorite treat.

Tina was a hit with the neighborhood children. They would come to our house to play with my kids just so they could pet her. The neighborhood children were curious and Tina was a great ambassador for her species.   She never acted aggressively and was rewarded for that with lots of treats.

One of the children was so excited by this wonderful bird that she asked her grandfather, who lives about three blocks away if she could have a chicken like we did. The next day he walked his dog using a special route that brought him right to my doorstep. I was pulling weeds harvesting dinner (yummy dandelions) in the front when he passed by.

He informed me that this was a residential neighborhood, not a farm.
I told him I was quite aware of that.
He told me he didn't think farm animals needed to wander around the neighborhood.
I assured him that the chicken coop was completely enclosed and that would not be a problem.
He told me he would call the city and complain.
I cited the ordinance that allowed me to keep the bird in my backyard.
He told me he heard her crowing early in the morning all the way at his house and he would find some way to ensure that damn nuisance of a bird would be taken off to a farm where it belonged.
I know that dominant hens have been known to crow, but my poor pecked up barely laying hen didn't give off more than a cluck at a time even when she seemed happy. He was lying because he didn't like the idea of an animal "out of its proper place."
I said good day to the unfriendly neighbor and told him to do as he wished, but if she went by order of the city, 10 more would replace her and his granddaughter would have the best birthday of her life.

It is my hope the each one of us that participates in some level of urban homesteading can open the dialog with those that disapprove. I think that a gift of a few fresh eggs and some herbs or veggies straight from our gardens will soften their hearts if not inspire them to scratch in the dirt some themselves.  That gentleman that complained to me had me angry for days. When I finally (at the behest of my incredibly patient husband) calmed down about my encounter with my neighbor, I sent a box of veggies to him through his granddaughter.

Again this comes back to building community. We will not always agree with those around us, but that diversity of opinion could eventually make us stronger. We must be ambassadors in our communities and bring  what were doing into the mainstream. We do have an advantage...Everyone likes to eat and what we are growing will taste better than its grocery store counterpart.

1 comment:

  1. Giving the neighbor girl a chicken would have been fowl play indeed.