definition of "no poultry houses" : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

my neighbors say I cannot keep my chickens anymore as they come under the covenant of "no poultry houses" we are little farmetts of 6 acres in an area zoned agriculture. I have about 6 roosters and 20 hens of different ages free range that stay on my property (I have fencing).I have to have that ratio of roosters to hens to keep away the hawks. less roosters and I start to loose hens. with six the hawks cruise by and keep going. does anyone know the legal definition? thanks terry

-- terrymcmillan (, December 08, 2001


You might try Findlaw for your state. I am sure that the definition would change by state or even county. The no poultry houses may be referring to the very large houses that commercial growers use. If you are zoned ag, I don't see how they can tell you that you can't have a few chickens.

-- beckie (none@this.time), December 08, 2001.

Call you're county court house,(Zoning dept).

-- Dave.??? (duckthis1@maqs.quandrafluff), December 08, 2001.

When you moved there did you have to join or did you sign any landowners Association agreement? If you did you will have to abide by it or take the association to court. To me that seems to be what they are talking about,because of your use of the word "Covenant", even though you all have small farmetts of 6 acres it sounds like you also live in a group on a certain area of land. (ex: 6 homes on 36 acres) Even though the area is zoned ag. that could be a left over from what is actually now taking place in that part of your Township, which is turning large parcels of farm land into semi-residential areas.

If you are not part of a Association or you did not sign any agreements then the first place you should call is your Township zoning office.

-- TomK(mich) (, December 08, 2001.

Around here Ok/Ark a chicken house is 60 feet wide by at least 300 to 400 feet long. A far cry from being a coop! Are your neighbors possibly bluffing you because they have been bugged by the crowing? I know that on certain water sheds that you can not have chickens in huge numbers. That is why we have a 400 ft. long house that is empty. I have over 50 as farm animals though.

-- Nan (, December 08, 2001.

Do the covenents spefically state "no poultry houses" or "no poultry"? If the former, do away with the house, build a temporary greenhouse which the birds have access to and keep the birds. A recent case came up in a large town nearby that prevented the owner from having a coop, but there was nothing on the books that prevented him from having poultry. Check your local authorities and read the covenants or odinances.

-- David A. (, December 08, 2001.

Words mean what lawyers can get a judge to say they mean - and that gets expensive. I'm pretty sure that you're governed by a covenant tha applies to the land you're on, and the subdivision that formed it, and I'm also pretty sure that "poultry house" in this context was meant to be "huge commercial poultry shed" (which could make a commercially viable operation out of six acres, at the expense of the neighbourhood), and not a few farmyard hens in an "agriculture" area. However, whether or not you could get a judge to agree would be another matter, and either way the winners would be the lawyers, and you'd have (or have had) some mighty expensive poultry.

First thing you've got to do is look at the covenant in detail. Maybe everything is quite clear (say it says "commmercial poultry houses") and the neighbours are just trying to bluff, or indulging in some wishful thinking. Next thing, if the covenant isn't crystal clear, is to see if there's another definition (say county) that you can point to that does define things that way.

Also you need to recognise that you're causing your own trouble. You have decided (for defensible reasons, I know) to have a much higher proportion of roosters than are strictly needed for breeding. That means the roosters will be competitive, and they'll be making a lot of noise, and that's what's upsetting the neighbours. Fact is, strictly for breeding purposes, you could get by with one rooster, or at most two. The hawk problem could be handled by keeping the poultry in a netting-topped cage. However, you've elected a course of action which would be OK in the middle of your own 640 acres; but predictably upset someone or other in a six-acre subdivision. Whether things should be that way is not the question - they are, that's the fact. Well, you know all that, or you wouldn't have been so defensive about it when you started the thread. You have to realise that getting this solved without courts and lawyers may involve silencing the roosters. If you can accept that, you'd have something to go to arbitration with, and arbiters can settle things a lot more successfully than an expensive toss of a coin - win or lose the lot - in a court.

-- Don Armstrong (, December 08, 2001.

Ditch the roosters you can buy chicks when you want to replace the layers. In commercial egg production they don't have roosters because fertlized eggs have a small spot on the yolk, usually with some blood pressent that yuppie cooks don't want in their eggs. With out the roosters most people will never notice that you have chickens. When you called your place a 6 acre farmette that lets me know it was a larger parcel of land divided up into farmettes and usually has a bunch of restritive covents and chickens are usually one thing restircted. Check your deed and contract where you agreed to purchase the land. If that does not tell you get prepared to spend money for an attorney. Eggs at the store are much cheaper than attorneys but your choice. Find out on your own if possible and why not ask the people that are complaining an keep it friendly. If its in the covents you have just found out why they say read the small print, if they can't show it to you in writing they may just be bluffing. Best of luck. I have had chickens but no roosters, I personally don't like to hear them early in the morning.

-- David (, December 08, 2001.

Trade your chickens for hogs.

-- Just Duckie (, December 08, 2001.

I have had 7 roosters at one time, and can vouch for the racket they make, and can understand how this would cause the neighbors to complain. Would be easier for you to accomodate your neighbors concerns and keep only one rooster, or none, and keep your flock confined/protected with netting to fend of the hawks, or keep them in a presentable coop to defend against predators.

I have to keep our chickens in a regular stoutly built house, the raccoons and bobcat would make short work of poultry netting, hawks are the least of our predator problems.

Compromise is always a better solution than confrontation.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, December 08, 2001.

Yeah, those neighbors. Speaking as a chicken keeper in the middle of town, it doesn't matter too much what the neighbors think as long as you're not breaking any rules. And the people I've found who are both sympathetic and VERY familiar with the rules are the Animal Control folks. With them on your side, your neighbors can't say, "Boo." Here in town, I can't have roosters, but I'd be quite surprised to find such a rule on 6-acre tracts of land.

-- Laura Rae Jensen (, December 08, 2001.

Get rid of the chickens. Get l0 geese which don't need any building. Within a couple months, the neighbors will be begging you to have the chickens and roosters back!!

-- Tomas (, December 08, 2001.

On that note....what about Peacocks! They can really put out some decibels!heeheehee!

-- Nan (, December 09, 2001.

And to all the above, I say - must be pretty wimpy hawks if roosters can keep 'em away. Hell, I'd beat all the neighbors to it in chopping their heads off if I had that many roosters!

More seriously, (again, without knowing anything about covenant restrictions), if you head towards arbitration, it seems to me the roosters might be your very convenient sacrificial lamby-pies. But again, what happens when neighbor Jones moves out and newby neighbor Smith moves in?

Yeah. Hogs, peacocks and a whole bunch of guinea fowl. Make the neighbors long for the days you had only chickens!

-- Audie (, December 10, 2001.

investigate hard you never know what you might find. i read a news story about 12 years ago about a developer who wanted to put some townhouses in a neighborhood down in FL. he tried real hard to compromise with the neighbors but they would have none of it. in court the neighbors won so he had his lawyer research everything he could do with the property. the guy put in a hog farm. the neighbors lost in front of the same judge (who told them they had brought it on themselves for not trying to work out a compromise)

-- Pops (, December 12, 2001.

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