Angst: I’ve alluded to the war with the neighbors without getting into details… and I’ll still try to keep it brief. You probably remember me putting up a privacy fence a couple months back so I could at least garden without an audience. Since that time, the neighbor has been rather hostile. Awesome. I certainly didn’t want to start a war, but putting up that fence was necessary because of him!! Anyway, a few weeks back I get a letter in the mail from the landlords (these people bought the house last summer as a rental- they’ve never lived there and aren’t any relation to the people who used to own the house). Anyway, the landlord was passing on a complaint that there was a “foul stench” coming from my chicken coop. They wrote that they didn’t want there to be conflict between neighbors and that though I am allowed to have chickens, I am not allowed to have a foul stench so there should be some sort of agreement between us, blah blah blah. The best line was the “We’ve received reports that you voluntarily cleaned the coop recently which we appreciate….” The whole letter was obviously an effort by the landlords to try to address the complaint from their neighbor but instead just proved what a jerk the neighbor is and the whole thing was unfounded. There is no “foul stench!” I’m so paranoid about a foul stench because I hate the smell of chickens myself!! I even had both of my roommates and a few friends go do the sniff test—no foul stench. This guy is simply a jerk, pissed about the fence, and trying to cause trouble however he can. Awesome.
I waited a couple days to cool off and then sent them a
scathing direct three page letter telling them why the complaint happened (privacy fence angst), why I put up the fence, and my list of complaints about their tenants. I tried to keep it reasonable—I left out the strangeness of the grown man walking RC cars for hours every day—but I gave them a piece of my mind over the profanity, the music, the cigarette butts in my garden, the intrusiveness of the neighbor, the middle of the night yelling fights, etc. I agreed that I would move the coop further from the shared fence and asked what they intended to do about the many complaints I have with their tenants. I also reassured them that I wanted to come to some peaceful resolution and would be happy to discuss the matter by phone if they wanted. I had a couple people give me feedback before sending it. And after reading it, Jenny predicted the landlord wouldn’t respond at all since I’d laid out quite a case against their tenants.
Three weeks later… no response from the landlord. And nothing has really changed with the neighbors. I still woke up to the sound of the neighbor’s incredibly loud music coming through the wall at 8.30 on a Sunday morning. There’s still a ridiculous amount of swearing and profane music on the other side of my fence. And the guy is still a creep.
In light of this war, however, the chicken situation is more sensitive. Like He-Len crowing loudly at 6.00 am! Roosters are now allowed in the city limits because of the crowing. I get it. Once it was clear He-Len was a rooster and had found his voice, he had to go and there was more urgency considering it would give the neighbors a legitimate complaint.
Angus: Formerly known as Agnes. Just a couple days after we’d removed the noisy He-Len from the Chicken Shack, Leslie heard an attempted crow in the backyard. Now Angus and He-Len were the same kind of chicken (I had started with two of each kind). And compared to He-Len, Angus looked like a hen. Bigger than the other two hens, but considerably smaller than He-Len. Since I hadn’t heard anything, I did eye Angus carefully and notice his tail feathers were starting to come in. Darn. So much for “sexed” chicks that were all supposed to be hens.
Tuesday morning I woke up at the usual time (6 am) and suddenly heard some loud, awkward crowing from the backyard. Angus was finding (or attempting to find) his voice. Clearly a rooster. And it was time for him to go. Tuesday evening, with the help of my roommates, I herded Angus into a box and delivered him to my mom’s chicken haven in the country, where he can crow to his little hearts content.
And then there were two…
In case you’re counting, the breakdown looks something like this.
- 6 chicks to start with (all supposedly hens)
- 2 killed by the dogs- too early to determine sex
- 2 roosters – both removed and sent to live at my parents’
- 2 alleged hens – remaining at the Homestead. Hopefully these ones are really hens and will lay some darn good eggs to make it all worthwhile.
This whole Operation Chicken continues to be quite an adventure!