Chicken Drama: e.g. This ain’t the Burbs.

We are scrambling to come up with a chicken pen plan here. They can no longer be totally, unsupervised free ranging all day.

We have one neighbor who can be a bit of a curmudgeon. He’s kind of a super type-A, controlling personality, and he is obsessed with his prized paved driveway because he spent a lot of money to get it paved (though each time he has told me the story, the value of this driveway has somehow managed to go up in price since the previous time he talked about it). Anyhow, the chickens have taken to crossing over his driveway to go to the gravel driveway that branches off of his and leads to another neighbor’s old trailer. I imagine the chickens like to go down there because there are more leaves to scratch for bugs in and more gravel to eat for digestion etc…

Anyhow, the neighbor says the chickens are making a mess of things by kicking rocks and leaves onto his driveway and digging holes to dust bathe in etc… He is worried if they start wandering the other direction, i.e. up the driveway toward his house, then they will surely destroy his flower beds.
I’m not denying they could/would get in his flowers, but he has a very long driveway, and so far the chickens haven’t shown an inkling of interest of even coming close to going in that direction, because if they stay down here on the north side of the property they’re closer to our house, where they know my mother in law goes in and out multiple times a day for smoke breaks, and usually gives them some treats and attention when she’s out there.

But the neighbor walked over one day, a little over a week ago, to talk to me about his concerns. I told him it had been concerning us just for the fact the chickens keep going in the road and its not safe for them either, so in their best interest at this point they ought to be put into a pen. I told him we were working on it, though it wasnt a high budget priority, and that all I could tell him was we’d try to have it done before the year was out.
Because he had a casual approach to the conversation with me about it, I kept my response rather lax/casual as well – because with a personality like his you dont want to bend too quickly/easily or he’d probably just get the impression he can ask more and more of us and/or boss us around somehow. If he was feeling it was a more serious and urgent issue, he should have been more direct about it and requested we set a time frame of a plan or something. Instead he responded with pretty much nothing, leaving me to assume my proposition and predicament was understandable for now. Then he decided to call the police.

A cop come up here yesterday and brought a book of the county laws and made me read the part about rules regarding domestic fowl and neighboring property rights. He told me if we dont constrain the chickens then the authorities have the right to come up here and kill all of them and the neighbor has the right to put a warrant out (for what, or how, or on who he didnt clarify).
I conceded that all of that would be really stupid drama to have happen over a few chickens. The cop said, “he’s not wanting to be unreasonable or a bad neighbor about it”… But I’m thinking to myself, that line was kind of crossed the moment he thought police needed to get involved at all!
So I just told the officer that the situation was that we were shopping around trying to find the cheapest fencing we could, because our budget is very tight. That I’d already even expressed this to the neighbor as well, and if he wanted a more specific time frame he should have asked.

Once the officer had left, I walked up there to go talk to the neighbor and explain the situation more thoroughly and basically ask him to exercise some patience while we take care of the situation, knowing it could take a week or 2 before we get the right fence and get it put up etc… He was willing to be patient about that much since I gave him a time frame. Although, he has a tendency to be nice and say one thing to your face and then stew about it and find things to have problems with and complain about if he dwells on it, so who knows.

But seriously, who moves to a rural area, completely surrounded by farms, in a region that has no zoning laws, and then complains about 7 chickens scratching up leaves? This from a man who even told me himself he used to raise fighting cocks and grew up on a chicken farm.

Lame.

Well… at least these chickens are going to have a very nice pen area, complete with their own sand box and dust bath area and leaf piles for scratching, etc… so they will still be happy chickens. And there will be less poop everywhere around the house, so that’s a plus really.
Penning them is understandable, reasonable, and logical at this point. Sending cops over here, about 7 measly chickens, after only having one minor conversation about it in a weeks time, THAT is what is bothersome!
I’ll be glad when he retires and goes with his plan of selling the place and leaving the state. Hopefully we can get someone we know to buy that house then!

Anyhow…. # endrant

– e.

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