I suppose it was inevitable - I should have known from the moment that we got comments about our girls - "Will they make a lot of noise?" "When they get stinky move them up-wind." or even "Why don't you move them to the other side of the house." But I didn't get it. My naivete that neighbors would WANT fresh eggs, or that if they had a problem they would come speak to me directly BEFORE the "girls" became pets to my children. But noooooo, that wasn't the case.
And so it is that we are giving up the fight... No more Mrs. Nice-Guy neighbor though. I won't be outwardly hostile or anything, that's not my way. I simply won't give up ANY of my summer produce no matter how much I have in abundance.
If you've read earlier posts, the Homeowners Association sent us a note, which we responded to since "caged birds" were not considered as part of the "rules" we had to live by. I'm guessing they had no leg to stand on and called the township offices. (I READ all of the ordinances about homes before getting the girls, I would never have guessed to read about "farms" in the township though.) Then late last week we received a note from the township that said we were "farming" and that farms in the Township needed to be 5 acres or more, and we couldn't have a "chicken farm".
I had a friend tell me that the township MAY have done us a favor by saying we were a "farm" since there is a law on the books (The Michigan Right to Farm Act), but I've run out of steam and am going to roll over and take it - As much as it pains us, we'll give up our girls.
OK I haven't completely exhausted myself, I just can't afford the emotional drain or legal ramifications of sticking it to the man. Maybe I DO have the right to "farm" chickens for the health of my family, however the township only gave me 6 days to remove the girls before we'd see fines. We're JUST getting back on our feet with my husband finally getting work, and I don't think legal fees and fines are the smartest thing to do right now...
Instead we have an offer of $100 to take the $325 coop & run, the chickens and their feed off our hands. So we'll take what we can get, with an awfully expensive lesson in raising backyard chickens.
It kills me though that Ann Arbor and surrounding municipalities are beginning to allow backyard birds, yet some righteous neighbor has deemed otherwise for our family. We weren't bugging her (oops I mean "whomever" since I can't officially say WHO it was that complained) or anyone else who could have possibly seen or been disrupted by 4 hens that were kept in a clean coop/run, next to our home, IN OUR YARD!
Stepping off the soapbox now. I need to console my children who have been hysterical all morning about loosing Penny, Princess, Peeps and Beakie...
If we could get just 1 $300 egg before next week... Start squeezing them out girls...
Area Municipalities that Allow Backyard Chickens:
Ann Arbor City
Ypsilanti (pending - The Council's notes have not yet been approved for publication indicating the status of the fight. The ordinance would allow for backyard chickens and bee hives though!)
I'd like to keep this list going for anyone in the Ann Arbor area who may be interested in back-yard birds. So, please send me a note or add a comment about additional Ann Arbor area city/townships that allow for backyard birds!