The Chicken Returns Home to Roost

22 04 2013

I cannot believe it has been nearly a year since I last posted on this blog. Since last May, I have signed on probably ten times, spending an hour or two writing the beginnings of a post, but then getting too busy to continue. But no matter – I am back now, and I fully intend to write regularly (maybe once every week or two?).

"The Girls", digging through their leaves for bugs

“The Girls”, digging through their leaves for bugs

Me, holding one of the girls, as happy as can be.

Me, holding one of the girls, as happy as can be.

And what a year it’s been. For those of you who don’t know, a few weeks after my last posting (late May, 2012), my family welcomed four chickens onto our homestead. We raised them from six day old chicks, we built a homemade coop in our backyard, we sadly had to cut the flock down to three upon figuring out that one was a rooster, and finally, on a cold morning in mid-November, we found our first egg. Later in January, once the chickens got into the habit of laying one egg, per day, per chicken, I decided to bring a half-dozen fresh eggs to a neighbor, whose backyard borders mine. When I handed her the eggs, she questioningly responded that she didn’t know I had chickens, asked how many I had, took the carton, and closed the door. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was that moment that the figurative chicken crap hit the fan.

24 hours after I stood on my neighbor’s doorstep, a mere two months after finding that first home-raised egg, we received a phone call, and later a certified letter, from the City Zoning Office, demanding that we remove the chickens from our property. As it turns out, they were a violation of the city’s Zoning Laws. We had to remove them from our property, thus marking the (temporary, if I have anything to say about it) end to my backyard chickens.

And this brings us to the present. After receiving the letter, rather than quietly obeying this nonsensical law, I took action. The campaign, appropriately called “Legalize Backyard Chickens in Woonsocket”, began at full-speed. I spoke to a few people in the community who were passionately in favor of the same issue, and together we, with the rapidly growing membership of our campaign, collected signatures, wrote emails and made calls to the City Council members, and ultimately showed up in great numbers to a City Council meeting that took place earlier this month, all with the intent of legalizing backyard chickens.

Alas, the City Council voted 5-2 against the legalization, but I don’t believe we failed in our mission. Why? Well, I think that’s a great subject for my next post, don’t you?