I’ve mentioned our little flock of hens before, but have I mentioned that they are actually forbidden in our neighborhood? We only got ours when it appeared a vote to change the rules was a done deal, but we became renegade chicken-keepers when it failed to pass. I’m not all that proud of the decision, but we chose to keep them and keep them as hidden as possible.
But it didn’t work. Though some of my neighbors have been keeping chickens for years and years with no troubles, someone apparently saw ours and complained to the property owners’ association (POA). Now, we’re having to relocate our chickens — hopefully temporarily — but simultaneously I’m waging a battle to get our neighborhood restrictions changed.
In this, I’m like hundreds, if not thousands of others in our country. Heck, BackyardChickens.com has an entire forum section dedicated to Chicken Ordinances and getting them changed! Others have fought not for chickens, but for the right to have a garden, even in their front yard. Who knew that there would be such opposition to these practices in a country so focused on freedom and self-sufficiency? Of course, I know there are other valid arguments, but you’d think that feeding yourself and your family would be of primary importance. No?
The most difficult obstacle is that — like amending the U.S. Constitution — it requires an affirmative vote of 2/3 to make a change. And it’s not just 2/3 of those voting — it’s 2/3 of ALL of those ELIGIBLE to vote! An uphill battle, for sure.
Step one is for me to demonstrate — via a neighborhood survey — that people really want to change the rules. What’s crazy is that even though I have 80+ percent of those surveyed saying they support a change, it’s like pulling teeth to get some people to actually vote. Maybe they don’t know about it? So, at this point, I’m raising money to send postcards and field a telephone survey to supplement the results I already have. I’ve even made t-shirts!
I’m not really the political type, so this is a bit of a new effort for me, but it’s really not about us and our chickens, it’s about whether the addition of chickens would enhance the neighborhood — and I genuinely believe it would. (Keep in mind that we already allow rabbits, cows, horses, goats, llamas, donkeys, etc.) It’s true I would never have put so much effort into this if I didn’t know the pleasures of keeping chickens. But that just means I’m more educated about what the fight is all about.