Added stress from neighbours wanting to keep chickens

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Hi Brat,

It seems you have the law on your side and will deny the neighbors application. If you feel guilty, I'll share my former neighborhood situation.

I lived in an established neighborhood and we all have the same age home/yard set up. Folks moved in had kids, dog, cat and decided to add chickens for eggs and learning experience for the kids. Their adjacent neighbors did not initially protest and waited about a year before complaining to the city and long story due to them having "established" situation the neighbors are now in a 3 yr and counting battle, no one is on speaking terms anymore and tensions run high.

The saga....

Baby chicks grew up. Mom & Dad are busy with a houseful. Kids lost interest early on so cleaning hen house went downhill fast.
Their 3 adjacent neighbors have to deal with ammonia smell from the hen house. Always.
The chickens make noise, so much I can hear it at times
The chickens attracted raccoons. The raccoons occasionally kill one of their chickens but they travel through yards now on the way there and have destroyed neighbors small yard ponds. Killed any fish, dug up landscaping etc. Some of these ponds had been running for decades, they tried covering with wire mesh, and a ton of other solutions nothing worked. Everyone gave up on their ponds and drained them. No point it was just feeding the raccoons and the damage was pretty bad sometimes.
Rats. We never had a problem but rats are now seen near the property and have chewed into/through basement masonry of them and neighbors. The neighbors are also suing the family for property damage as part of the nuisance claim with the city.
Mites. Apparently their kids got mites and this came out when the neighbors who share the fence on the side of the hen house noted they felt bites when setting out on their lawn furniture. They were told chicken mites do not infest pets/people but they do bite. This is now part of the neighbors nuisance suit citing medical bills.

I don't even have all the details but this is a disaster. A private lawyer is involved representing the neighbors etc. Pictures were taken of the yard the hens are in and it was bad, they are birds and they have defecated all over the yard under the swing set, porch etc. during their "free range time". I imagine the family can't use the yard anymore. Its all chicken yard now, LOL

This is now an ugly hostile situation and I do think the adjacent neighbors are going to win their case. I feel for the young family but they dug their heels in and for some reason won't relent. I imagine they regret it, we all used to be friendly, see the new baby etc. I'm not in the fray but now they avoid all of us due to the situation.

I grew up in a farm environment then moved to the city and I see this "urban farming" and it is bizarre to me and an improper environment.

There is a reason barns aren't built as part of a house, LOL. Farm animals need space, they smell, make messes, and do what critters do. They are great but I think folks have no experience and don't get the reality of caring for a flock, getting them to lay, etc. No to mention they attack each other sometimes, die in the heat, other birds compete for their food....I forgot to mention the crows!

It goes on and on....

I love critters but if you are worried about neighborhood feelings.....just wait until it devolves into a situation like my neighborhood.

If I were you I would fight this immediately and make sure other neighbors get on board.

Good luck and don't feel guilty especially if they did not apply for a permit, living in a community we all have to abide by laws for good is a community and our actions affect one another. Their new hobby has a direct negative impact on their neighborhood, the permit process restricts it for that well known reason.

Btw these folks weren't slobs, normal folks raising a family.

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The helplessness & lack of self confidence (in being able to deal with any problems IF they happen) wrapped up in something -relatively minor- completely ruining your summer? Is heartbreaking. Because that’s rating someone else’s pets as important and influential to you and your life as your husband dying, or getting hit by a car and having your back broken, or your house burning down, or finding a dead kid in your pool, or anything else that would be likely to completely ruin your summer.
@brat17 I COMPLETELY agree with Friday. I am going to go one step further though because her post was seemingly nice. I deal with issues of this sort almost daily. I am always blown away by the depth at which people will cause themselves suffering over the most unimportant things. If 6 chickens can ruin your summer, you likely have other issues that need to be addressed. Yes, she should have gotten permission. Perhaps she didn't know until later that she needed permission, but the impact of 6 hens to your paradise is likely zero. I would encourage you to go talk to your neighbor about your concerns.


My next door neighbour had a small coop with 2 chickens that she was taking care of for a friend.

I miss them, even if my neighbour doesn't! She kept their area pretty clean, and their lil cuckling sound was actually of endearing.

But...there were only 2!

My sister has 3 chickens. But they're definitely all part of the family, and will be for life. Her kids love them (and the chickens are incredibly tolerant of just how much the kids love them!!).

Buying chickens to have a ready source of eggs has become a surprisingly big thing with the covid outbreak and people getting stressed about food supplies. Suddenly a whole lotta people want chickens, and @FauxLiz mentioned some of the longer term issues when those chickens stop laying.

Like many fads? A lot of people haven't really thought it through. It sounds like your neighbours may have been in that category of people who hadn't thought it through, given they went ahead and got 6 before even arranging necessary approvals. Pet owners like that? I think you may have done those chicks a favour, and hopefully they will move on to an owner that knows what they're doing, and is committed to the animals' welfare long term:)
Just a little more perspective here. I've lived in a densely populated suburbs of cities & had chickens. I lived on farms and had chickens. My sisters have chickens in the middle of very well to do suburbs.

The chickens live in their chicken house.. which is 100% wired underground & all around.

My mother who is extremely elderly has chickens in a dedicated hen house with yard.

So I'm writing from a knowledge base.

There is no 'free ranging' going on. The chickens have them homes, roosts, dedicated yards, feeders & water pots. They have trees growing inside their yards for extra shelter from extreme heat. There is no flock. Let's be clear, small spaces call for a very finite number of birds per square meter. There would even be regulations about that no doubt.

The chickens are dusted regularly for mites & have places where they can 'dust bath' themselves. If any of them get sick there, two options. They are humanely killed or they are treated. My mother, sisters and myself have routinely dispatched chickens. It's easy, quick and definitely the right thing to do in some circumstances. If a person cannot do that - a Vet will.

There are no rodents, smells or objectionable noises.

I think the example you gave @Whirlwind is the typical example of what not to do with chickens. How not to care for them & how to give the entire idea a bad, bad rep.

Having chickens is like having any animal, they must be well cared for & controlled. The 'free-roaming' may be okay on a farm, but having grown up on farms & since then lived on several, - it's still not okay to have chickens strolling around anywhere they like. They are messy, their coups need clearing out regularly, their nests need replenishing with straw, They all had to stay in their dedicated place, as did all the farm animals. Keeping them well contained also protected them from predators.

This free roaming - hippie farming-in-the-burbs with no idea of how to care for animals is not ok. If that's what is happening then I completely agree - it's not ok - complain or object.

But, as with all these neighborhood issues, it's important to assess each situation on it's merits. Sometimes that may be hard to do.

If people allow their animals to become nuisances - then statutory remedy's apply - but visiting the neighbour is top of the list to do first.


Animals are always a nuisance unless there people make provisions and they don’t. We have commercial property adjacent and they have a dumpster across the street and trucks going and coming all day.
People deserve to have the laws obeyed in the neighborhood. If the quiet enjoyment of your property is being impinged you have a right to complain.

I won’t bother ranting and raving about people and their dogs we all carry sticks when we walk and have to watch where we step.


Whirlwind-you described exactly what my expectations feel like. When you said "crows", sooo true. These chicks have been in garage and running the yard occasionally. Their tree is full of crows, unlike any other year. Our pool cover is covered with droppings already, as is our deck rails. We have been trying to clean rails off because dogs jump up and eat those white clumps. This was happening before we knew of chicks. Once you open that door, it can turn out exactly as you stated. Recovery from ptsd calls for action, not reaction. I was reacting to the unknown at first. Can they do this? What is our rights? Do we have a say? How much say?

Our neighborhood is old victorian homes over 100 yrs old, many 3 stories. The lots are only 50 ft wide. All of our yard is fenced in. Only about 30 ft of neighbors is fenced in because their home was built later and they have a driveway off the alley. Our neighborhood is a prime location in our small city and home values are high. We have paid a high mortgage for 25 yrs to live here. Yes I admit to being privileged in some ways, but we didn't take vacations, buy new cars, spend money carelessly for many years. We have had to refinance just for repairs at times. Now we are over 60 and paid it off finally. This would depreciate our property horribly.

I agree it is not a heart attack, death, broken back, etc. However, I suffer in pain every single day. I have many health problems. I had to stop working due to a traumatic brain injury several years back. Since then I dont enjoy reading and other things I use to do. I dont get the exercise I use to get because of pain and fatigue. I hibernate in the winter because it is worse. But come summer, I can garden, take care of flowers, spend time outside with my dogs, family, and friends. Have weekend barbaques, etc. As someone else stated, if birds would ruin this for me, there is something else wrong---that is definitely true.

The city has sent a letter to rid of chicks within a week or there is a $500 per day fine. I have not really had the opportunity to talk to the neighbors but will, and I want to be civil and keep peace, though I can only do my part in that and how they respond is out of my control. I think the chicks have been removed from their property. Intelectually, I know that I do not need to feel guilty for standing up for myself and upholding the city ordinances, which do not allow if any neighbor is opposed. I dont need to be a pushover on this issue. As it turned out, there were complaints from 2 other neighbors that are not even effected as we are.

Seems the older I get, the less I like conflict or confrontation. I just want peace, and I am entitled to it as much as anyone else. My need for no feathers and flies is just as important as their need to have chicks and then likely loose interest.

Many newer and nicer housing developments have a board and you have to get permission to paint your house(color) of put up a fence as well as other changes. You cant put a shed in your backyard no matter how nice it is. They have all kinds of rules.

I feel much better knowing that this issue will be resolved and hope to move on.


I just want peace, and I am entitled to it as much as anyone else.

Well said and I have to remind myself of this at times too.

Listen, I love critters but the fact she got them before checking the permit situation and is good to talk face to face but did they ask you prior to introducing the chickens? Maybe they did but point being it goes both ways. They aren't out of the gate yet and disturbing neighbors. If they had their act together you wouldn't have to post here. This is their issue and their responsibility. Frankly I think they should apologize. She lied about the permit. Done.

I have owned a few homes in all sorts of places and trust me it is far easier to put a stop to a probable issue than deal with an existing one. I do get the "live and let live" but those folks probably haven't been sued, LOL

I have had great neighbors but in 2 cases as a younger person I was flat out too nice, accommodating, I waited too long to drop the proverbial hammer. And I was sued 2x. Both claims failed miserably but it was stressful and awful for everyone. These things tend to snow ball, today I do believe they wouldn't happen as I would snuff this out immediately.

Today I am friendly, but I maintain lines and since it has benefited my neighbor relationships and the few that became friendships do so anyway. To me neighbors are like coworkers and boundaries need to be established and protected. Home value, property rights etc.

It's your home. Not to mention probably your biggest asset.



Thank you Whirlwind, you are so right on about stopping something before the problem snowballs. If I follow the law, it will not be my problem, other than having a neighbor mad at me I suppose. They were not taking applications for permits because of covid right now, they were told they could not have them until a permit was approved, which included talking to neighbors. They had them a couple of weeks evidently when she told me about it. She stated that she applied and someone would come and talk to me, but might be a couple of months. Once she learned that I did not approve, she wrote the city asking for permission. The gal at the city chuckled because she signed it MD. Nobody cares if she is a Dr. She also stated her father was a veterinarian. Totally irrelevant.

Anyway, today she is home with her kids and put a little table and a chair as close to our property line as she could and blared a boom box at us. She knows my husbands office is right above. We are very well insulated so we dont care. It was head banging when I went to the porch to get the mail. So yes, I would say she is pissed. Again, Im not responsible for her behavior. We will just ignore. Just amazes me that a person will attempt to use their credentials as an MD to get their way, and act like a 4 yr old when they dont. Education sure isn't maturity. I did not mention before but it does play into my confidence regarding the situation. About 4 yrs ago, they put a garden in outside of their fence so it is in alley area. They lost interest quickly and now is like a 10x12 patch of 4 ft high weeds. It is an eyesore to my neighbor across the alley who has complained to me because thats what she see's out of her kitchen window, but I cant see it except when I leave my garage. They are both young drs, with 2 dogs, 3 children that they home school, and I really dont think they have time to care for this project. The worse she acts, the more confident I am in my decision.


You are welcome for what my input is worth. Given they are MD's they are more than familiar with reg's and knew better.

Now you know. If this is how they respond to their neighborS concerns you know how they would respond for future issues. The garden is an indicator too. If they came around now and went about it properly this could be a different story.

They are busy professionals with young kids. Just ignore the music, it won't last and/or they will aggravate other neighbors as they escalate and once the city deems them the problem they'll handle it.

It is good you have a connection to the city gal. Keep her in your corner. My former neighbors who sued decided to "get me back" by trapping my cat and taking it to the shelter for euthanasia. I had established a relationship with the city at that point and when this happened they recovered my cat and filed animal abuse & theft of property against my neighbors. They also found they had falsified signatures for a claim and hit them with a requirement any future filings would require a non-refundable fee of $500.

You just can't know with my case they were retired older folks and I never expected them to drop to such levels. The city/county folks have seen it all and they can be very helpful. Keep in touch with them if things don't calm down and you can always get advice.

The cat situation for me ended the drama. They gave up and eventually moved, LOL and my new neighbors were lovely ;)

I'm glad you are feeling better and good for you!



Anyway, today she is home with her kids and put a little table and a chair as close to our property line as she could and blared a boom box at us.
This made me chuckle - there's one of these eejits live in every street in the world I reckon. They have a knack for making complete asshats of themselves when they get upset about things:rolleyes:
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