Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Small Victory.....

Our battle to keep our backyard chickens continues. We meet with Town Council on June 21. I've never been to a council meeting before so I have no idea what to expect or even how to open such a conversation. I suppose throwing myself at the mercy of the council would be too dramatic?? LOL In other news.....A small victory has been won, as on June 13 it was official that Quinte West has approved Backyard chickens and is amending zoning to accommodate the maintenance of a small backyard flock!!!!! YAY!! This couldn't have come at a better time.

Council has given us 2 days to collect our petition signatures but even in such a short time we're seen great support. Surprisingly we got many of the names from the surrounding businesses just by canvassing yesterday. Many comments were......with the price of food and the fear of what they put in our food.....YOU BETCHA!!!

I've considered selling knitted chickens for people to buy in support of the chickens. LOL Too much?? Over the top do you think?? Kids love them.....I could see the fad catching on.

On the sour note.....why is it certain people are just such a**holes?? When I met at Town Office yesterday I specifically asked what the complaint was about me 'girls'. What was it about the chickens that made a concerned citizen call in with a report. I said....was it noise, smell, fear of illness, too close to property lines.....what?? The Bylaw officer point blank said, Oh there was no specific complaint....just that you had chickens. What motivates people to be so ignorant and miserable?? I guess it only takes one bad apple.....

Anyways, I'm not going to dwell on the ignorance of some insignificant pot stirrer....we are going to bask in the delight of Quinte West's Victory. Congrats to you......and wish us luck!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Something Smells 'Fowl' in the Community

Well, I think I've calmed down enough to actually be articulate.....maybe. As the title says....Something Smells Fowl in the Community. Yesterday, we got a visit from our friendly neighbourhood Bylaw officer. Apparently, someone, has issues with us keeping our backyard chickens. I can't prove but I can certainly wager a guess that it is the same someone(s) who prompted us to have the police visit on 3 separate occasions due to trespassing, uttering death threats and because their dogs have tried to kill our animals. Of course the bylaw officer can't disclose the identity of the complainer because of the privacy policy act.......COWARDS. what ever happened to the right to face your accuser???

So, my husband made a visit to the Town Office to find out what the problem is/was/or is gonna be. He was told we are not allowed to house livestock. Livestock??? Livestock to me is cows or pigs but certainly not birds. There is no mention of chickens in these bylaws because I have scoured those bylaws front and back and upsidedown. NOTHING. And, it is not like I have 200 chickens running amock wreaking havoc upon the community or worse the roadways.

I have 7 laying hens that have a proper chicken house which allows for free range running, pecking, scratching, eating, pest control, or just plain rolling and frolicking in the sunshine by day.........and a proper nesting/roosting area where they go to bed by night and are locked up tight to keep them safe. I have them in our garden where we move their chicken house around so they have a fresh area in which to graze every week or two. Of course, this is a win-win set up because they till and weed our garden for us. Sadly, this year we aren't able to have a working garden because a barn frame is being erected on site which will take up that garden area but in the meantime it belongs to the chickens.....or naughty children!!! LOL As you can see this picture has my 12 year old daughter in it....lots of room for a few chickens. You can certainly see they are housed properly.

So, in the meantime what is the real problem??? Even tho the bylaw officer "says" the complaint was they didn't feel we had them housed "properly"....I think they are full of it. Hmmmmmmmm.......what is your definition of "proper"....how much more proper can you get?? Have you seen how mass producers "properly" house their chickens??? It's reprehensible. [Sorry to all chicken farmers....I just couldn't do that]

Mass production sticks their layers in something called 'battery cages'.....even the name leaves little to be desired. "Most farms have 4 or 5 birds per cage. The cages being approx. 20 inches x 20 inches" which are stacked on top of one another leaving it possible for feces to fall below. "Over 2,000,000 chickens die in their cages each year from disease caused by improper control of faeces clearing." So, I ask you.....THIS is what you consider 'proper' housing?? I think not. [Quoted from http://www.downthelane.net/battery.php]

Of the 2 previous pictures....I'm sure you can see an obvious difference.

What's the next step?? the next step is to start a petition[already done], circulate it and try to fight for our Girls. I say our girls because they are much more then egg producers. We've had these girls going on 2 years now. We 'hand raised' them from day olds and have watched them grow into the beautiful mature hens they are today. We homeschool and my daughter did a school project on them. We've had children from all over come to visit our chickens which is so educational. It teaches children to be responsible pet owners and where our food comes from. not to mention, kids get quite a charge out of collecting the eggs. We have an apartment complex in our town and many of the elderly love to watch them....not to mention they enjoy the eggs we give them as well.

This day and age when Society is advocating sustainable green living and touting how we need to get back to basics....how can they allow such an injustice to occur??? They want people to be self sufficient and yet they squash anyone who tries. They want people to be organic and natural but they make it impossible to do. I've always been a Naturalist. I like to know whats in my food.....what better way to know then to eat what you grow and grow what you eat. Call me a tree hugger....call me radical...but wouldn't you like to eat fresh, healthy food free of chemicals....pesticides and antibiotics?? Chickens are not the problem.....they are part of the solution!!!!!! They eat all your table scrapes which reduces municipal waste. They produce a rich fertilizer high in nitrogen which eliminates the need for petrochemical fertilizers AND replenishes our depleted soils. They are a form of natural pest control which stops the use of toxic pesticides. How can any of this be wrong?? This puts an end to the vicious cycle and replaces it with a healthy cycle. If you put good things in....they put good stuff out....which produces even better produce....which they in turn eat....and the cycle continues. Just like our recycling motto....reduce-reuse-recycle....it all goes hand in hand. Healthy soil=healthy food, isn't this why we are huge composters now?? These chickens ARE my personal composters!!!!! Isn't this why droves of people flock to garden centers for manure?? Why not have it right in your own back yard???

Please help by signing our petition located at http://www.petitiononline.com/hens4all/petition.html