So it has become clear that either the city is out to get us, or one of our neighbors is. Either way, it’s starting to result in lots of trouble with the city. Picky trouble. Like standing in my driveway taking pictures of the broken storm window that was INSIDE our fence and outside the shed where we keep our storms for 3 days. Like standing in my driveway taking pictures of our garbage cans. (I still am uncertain what the trouble is there.)
I mean, last year, someone called the city to complain that we hadn’t mowed. And actually, we HAD mowed. What they meant was we have a hill that’s covered in nontraditional lawn materials (mainly short groundcovers, but also taller plants). Yes, it looks a little messy. No, they’re not planted in clumps and arranged in groups of three with little tiny fences around them. Bite me. The city clarified for me that they consider anything that is not Kentucky Bluegrass to be a noxious weed. Yes, they really did. I wish I were kidding.
So this spring, it’s that I trimmed up the hill (in an honest attempt to keep everyone happy) just before it rained for 2 weeks, and we haven’t had time to run the trimmings out to the dump, so they are in a VERY NEAT pile against our fence FAR AWAY from the public. I was actually going to take care of it this weekend, but technically the citation from the city gives us 21 days, so we decided to put it off, lol. Yes, I fight back in my petty ways.
But all this extreme watchfulness has made me decide – somebody is unhappy with us. I don’t know if it’s because of the chickens, or what the deal is, but we’ve pissed someone off and that person has decided to take revenge on us by calling in anonymous complaints to the city. (I actually half suspect it’s someone not even in the neighborhood.)
The result of this is that I’ve decided I probably need to be more cautious about keeping the animals in compliance. I’m already MORE in compliance than most urban chicken keepers I know. I keep them inside their coops/runs at all times. I try to keep them quiet. Their feed is kept in metal, rodent-proof bins. Etc. However, we’re getting close on numbers of birds allowed. Actually, we’ll end up just exactly where we need to be, but not necessarily on purpose. We have the six layers, then 25 meat birds, which gives us 31, 1 more than allowed. But then one of the chicks died, so we’re down to 24 meat birds… which gives us 30 – our legal limit.
But then add in our second species of animal – the rabbits. We have three. That bumps our total number of animals to 33. While I was initially unconcerned about this, I’ve decided to play it safe and shuffle some of the chickens off to Swinging Goat Farms’ rural half to live out their lives with Sally, our goat.
You know what’s funny, though. The city will not allow birds in the front yard, even if penned up. But if they would let me put a few birds in a portable run on the steep part of our 42nd hill (that the city made too steep to safely mow), the birds would take care of that area’s tendency to be weedy. Even funnier is that I’m sure the city would cite us, but the 42nd street side is NOT our front yard. We have a Kingman address. The front yard is the yard that faces Kingman. 42nd is the side yard, and the law says NOTHING about chickens in the side yard. Once we sell our house, I’ll test out that theory with the city, lol.