Sunday, May 15, 2011

Too long since an update!

It's been a long time since an update. Things have been busy of course. We expanded out the garden in the back and created one in the front. We started to permiscape the front as well. The less grass I have to mow, the better! I'll post more on the garden later. Not much later I promise.

On the chicken front, we purchased several breeds of meat and dual purpose birds in February. The intent was to breed the biggest ones into a strain of birds suitable for eating and making eggs, you know, what chickens were meant for. Every week we've weighed them, sold some, purchased more, and looked forward to the goal of processing at the end of this month.

Well, the town animal control officer/code enforcement officer/sewer assessment officer (I suppose three titles makes him think he's three times important) decided to crack down on our neighborhood. It seems there's an ordinance tucked away in the county by-laws that limits the number of animals outside your house to four. And no livestock.... apparently it matters not if there is a complaint by neighbors, or if your animals are even publicly visible, you have contraband if you have chickens. He also cracked down on un-manicured lawns in the neighborhood, overabundances of lawn furniture (no, you can't have people hanging out at your house!), and other such pesky things.

Now, the nasty certified letter might not have been so bad, but it came on a day I left to fight fires in the Okefenokee Swamp. I don't have time to worry about some Poindexter's crackdown on our neighborhood. So Nicole handled getting all the birds out while she herself prepared for a trip north for two weeks. Once we both return from our adventures away from home I plan to go down the town hall with a letter from my neighbors stating they don't mind the "livestock" and see what kind of deal I can work out with the town spoilsport.

It's a setback, but it may be a push in a good direction. We'll be looking at land elsewhere because of this. Hopefully the housing market won't be too much of a bust on our ability to move.

Forgive the sloppy writing. We've been on nightshifts on this fire. Last night was a 5 PM to 6 AM shift... I'm feeling a little sleepy :>P


  1. Um, doesn't FL have a Right to Farm Act?


    ...yes, yes it does. It may not do you much good if you're zoned as strictly residential, or if it hasn't been a year since chickens, but it may help to look through it. Also, I'm sure you've done this stuff already, but just in case, local laws (but maybe not all of them) are here:
    If you're a policy wonk like me, you could spend hours on this site. I have--after poring over zoning laws it turns out my boss, who had already had chickens and a plethora of honeybees, is not allowed to have sheep despite his incredibly talented border collie pup. Ducks proved less flighty, so they've had to do, but the poor dog is still up to all sorts of mischief that might otherwise be worked out herding.

    Anyway, first verify that the stuff you're being cited for actually exists--some people don't know how to do one job, much less three, and then see if you can poke any holes in it. Are chickens specifically listed as livestock, or is "livestock" used as a blanket term that might be convincingly interpreted to exclude fowl?

    If it comes down to it, there are lists online of chicken-friendly cities/counties, some of which may be nearby. There are probably also lists of things to do if considering challenging the ordinance. Chicken people are way internet-savvy these days, I hear.

    If Nicole or you or the whole clan ever drive up north rather than fly, there's a spare bedroom around the halfway point with your names on it.

  2. The municicode site is where I'd been looking at the town ordinances. There is nothing specific relating to livestock in the town ordinances, just a few lines about "animals running at large." I haven't had the chance to look through the county stuff. Once I get back into a more normal sleep cycle (i.e. not 10 am to 4 pm) and back in town believe me, the research will be done.

    This guy just had a bad day from what I can tell. We've had the birds for over a year and not a peep from this guy. We got a little cocky (forgive the pun) and had some caged birds in the front yard mowing our lawn for us. That was probably our first mistake. :>P

    And it seems there was a guy down the street involved in cock-fighting. This probably tipped the "officer" off to the fact that chickens were in the neighborhood. And since he didn't have the cajones to talk to us before writing us up I'm sure he had us pinned as animal abusers.

    We're not sure he even saw the birds in the backyard, as he would have had to tresspass to see them. He actually told our neighbor we had a goose!

    Anywho. I've said too much. We do occasionally get up north, and it would be lovely to see you again. We'll let you know when that next trip will be :>)