Follow our adventures

Follow our adventures as we raise a tiny flock of chickens in suburban Bexley, Ohio.
Our chicken bloggers include Tami Taylor, a Welsummer, and Tyra, a Jersey Giant.
RIP, Betty, Joan, Sally & Peggy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The fine line between taking this seriously and taking this TOO seriously

Chickens in Bexley. It makes for funny headlines and fills some gaps in the local news cycle. Apparently we made the radio yesterday and two local TV news channels called me to ask if they could get some video (the answer was kind-of-no since I didn't call them back).
I think it's cool that backyard chickens are getting some press -- albeit partly tongue in cheek. BUT, I think most people see chickens as no-big-deal, slightly quirky pets. That's how we see our ladies, and that's how everyone I've talked to personally sees them, including neighbors and skeptics. It seemed on Tuesday that that's how city council is inclined to see them too (though they're being understandably cautious, taking their time gathering info, and gauging the temperature of the community).
So, if these are just quirky pets, I'm reluctant to help in splashing it all over the 5pm news (I can hear the puns now).
If Bexley goes ahead with a new ordinance controlling chicken-pets, we're rooting for the most low-key version possible. Ideally, a few backyard chickens can just be explicitly rolled into existing rules governing other pets. If they're smelly, they're already not allowed. If they're noisy, they're already not allowed. If there are too many*, they're already not allowed.
So are we helped or hurt by engaging the media? My gut says keep it low key. But we also want as many sane chicken supporters there at the public forum on Oct 26th as possible.
What do you think?

*In Bexley, you're currently allowed only 5 pets. We're maxed out!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Evanston passes chicken ordinance - chicagotribune.com

It seems while we were at the Bexley meeting, the city council in Evanston, IL approved backyard chickens. I haven't seen their ordinance in particular, but the description of what they are requiring--a small fee, neighbor notification (not approval), and guidelines on coop maintenance, etc.--seems reasonable. Maybe a model for Bexley?

Evanston passes chicken ordinance - chicagotribune.com

We're in the News!

The Columbus Dispatch was at the zoning commission hearing last night, and here's the story. The girls make it in by name, though I don't. (At least not directly. Indirectly, I'm 'Mr Garrett'.) And Jack and Ben (il cane e il gatto) are described as "unusual". What did Jessica tell the reporter, we wonder, that led her to that conclusion?

Click on the "Share me" link below to read the story.

Share me

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Zoning Commission

Today the Bexley zoning commissions addressed the issue of chickens. Nobody made any motions, or took any action, but the commission spent a good 20 minutes talking about the issue. The chief question on everyone's mind seemed to be whether the existing laws regarding animals and pets would apply to chickens. Apparently there is already an ordinance that limits a household to 5 pets. So with the cat and the dog, Betty, Joan, and Peggy make five. Any issues that people might have with unsanitary conditions, excessive noise, and other sorts of nuisance issues can be handled (it would seem) by existing noise and nuisance issues.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the general tenor of the opinions expressed by the members at the meeting: they were mostly curious about the trend, but in general wary of extending the intrusive hand of government. If there are no problems, or if potential problems can be solved by existing ordinances, then (or so it seemed to this observer) let's not go around banning anything. Or, at least, that's the vibe I was picking up. It's clear that roosters will be banned--and I have no problem with that--and it could be the case that there is some sort of licensing procedure (again, I can live with that)--but, at least so far, the committee members seemed cool with backyard chickens.

Jessica was not planning to speak before the commission, but after some other member of the public spoke out against allowing chickens in Bexley, she stepped up and put in a good--and eloquent--word on behalf of backyard chickens. Whatever nerves she was feeling did not stop her from being a reasonable voice in favor of the newest members of our family.

The zoning commission will take up the issue again at its October 26th meeting (5:30, Bexley City Hall) , so spread the word, loyal readers, and let's make sure that Peggy, Joan, and Betty can stay just where they are!

Friday, September 24, 2010


The cool thing about watching them run around with a little more room is that they seem so much like chickens! They're scratching around in the gravel and stretching their wings and I heard a few grown-chicken Bawks! from Peggy.

Not happy to be excluded...

The whole time I'm in the run with the chickens Jack is outside the gate crying and pawing at the mesh. Poor old guy, first a cat and now chickens!
Ben was at the window watching the chicken-happening veeeery closely. If Jack & Ben ever join forces, those chickens are toast.

All 3 ladies



Hanging out in the yard!!

That's Betty: always the first to go explore new territory.

Who's a big chicken?



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blurry, but you get a sense of the attitude!

Joan has mellowed out considerably now that Betty has taken over as Alpha Chicken. She's always very curious about the camera.

Friday, September 10, 2010

View from the inside...



Chickens check out the new digs


It's getting harder to take pictures of the ladies - they move faster than my phone can focus. They haven't figured out how to get from one level to the next in the coop, but under Joan's brave leadership they've dispatched with a few bugs.
Today's field trip will end once the tub dries from the scrub-down. Then it's back to the garage.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Updates from the garage

Well, the girls are almost three weeks old, and, as Jessica puts it, are looking more and more dinosaur-ish every day. They are well on their way to having a full set of feathers, and are definitely more feather than down right now. Good sized wings on all of them, tail feathers, and much more defined necks. We've got a screen over the top of the tub to prevent them from flying away, something they could certainly do if given the chance.

We introduced them to the coop a couple days back, now that it is set up. They were uninterested in going up and down the ramp, but rather stayed put in the roosting level. I think they didn't know what to make of all their new room. They are not staying in the coop--they're still in the tub in the garage, and will be for a few more weeks--but we thought since the coop is just sitting vacant (the squirrels have yet to discover it), we'd let them get an advance look at their new digs.

Speaking of the new digs, we are well on our way to having it move-in ready. The coop itself is all wired up, so that nothing can get in once they are locked in for the night. We have to make a new roosting bar: the one that came with the coop is too square and mounted too low, making clean-up a little problematic. We also need to build a run for them so that during the day they can have some more space to wander around, as the coop is, well, a bit tight to be the full-time home for the three ladies.

Finally, as Yom Kippur approaches, it is perhaps relevant to link to this post which explains "kapores", a somewhat controversial custom, of using a chicken to help cleanse one of one's sins during the Jewish high holy days. Faithful readers of Bexley Chickens can be assured that neither Joan, nor Peggy, nor Betty will be participants in this practice.

Friday, September 3, 2010

King of the hill, chicken-style

Genius camera work:
video

The coop is in the run!

On wednesday Andrew critter-proofed the coop (hardware cloth stapled over every opening) and we put it in the dog run. Now we have to figure out how to keep hawks out of the run and chickens inside the run. While the girls are small they'll be pretty good fliers. They're flying all over the 'brooder' (aka Rubbermade tub) this week.