Fran: Rick, would it be terrible if I post something on my blog about the chickens?
Rick: No, go ahead. Write away.
So when I am in the city of Seattle from Monday through Thursday, we live in a condo. Then on Thursday afternoon, or Thursday evening, or Friday morning, we drive 144 miles to Ocean Shores. WA, to our beautiful spacious sanctuary and home that we are forever beautifying and enjoying.
Such a contrast from urban condo living to coastal living! Quite frankly, I do not recommend condo living to anyone!
What does this have to do with chickens? Well, the apartment complex next door (in the city) has new tenants. They are friendly young adults full of life… and they own chickens. Two sweet chickens. When I come home from work, I walk up to the fence and greet them (yes, the chickens!). They are so smart. They first look at each other and then they rush up to greet me by way of clucking softly. By now, you know how much I love animals and these chickens are right up there at the top of my list. Owning chickens is legal within the city of Seattle. It is actually quite hip these days to own organically fed free range chickens and gather their eggs for breakfast. I would love to have my own chickens one day. My cousin Vince owned some Araucana hens and was devastated when a fox dug his way into their coop and ate them up. The fox left a pile of feathers for my cousin to cry over! I was horrified when I heard his story and I felt so bad for both Vince and his beloved chickens!
So I got home today to an onslaught of emails from my fellow condo association owners. The first email was sent out by a very concerned condo owner within my building expressing his horror at the existence of the two little hens next door. This missive was followed by a mass of frenzied emails from other equally concerned condo owners within this building! Have they nothing better to do with their time than to fret over the existence of two little chickens? I will include the missive here so you get the gist of what I mean:
I am thoroughly disgusted by the chicken coop and chickens installed by our neighbors to the north. I came home today to find that they’ve now enclosed the coop in a chain link fence with chicken wire covering the top of the fence secured by plastic ties making it even more unsightly than it was before. I’m sure this is in response to the chickens’ escape onto our property on Sunday, witnessed by Stephanie and myself. I’ve done some research. Up to 8 chickens, no roosters, are allowed in Seattle. Their coop must be 10 feet or more from any residential building. I checked other cities’ laws and Seattle’s is by far the most liberal. It’s 100 feet in Spokane, for example. I have several reasons for being so annoyed. First of all, chickens are filthy. Their feces contain high amounts of nitrogen and it will kill most plants including grass. There will soon be a mud hole next door as the feces will kill what the chickens don’t eat. Nothing grows in a chicken pen. There is absolutely nothing “green” about chickens. These chickens are allowed to roam so they’ll tear up that patch of grass in the neighbors’ yard. I fear that as the weather warms an unpleasant odor will arise. I don’t particularly like hearing chickens clucking either. I find it extremely arrogant that these people would install chickens without asking their neighbors’ opinion. The pen is roughly 20 feet from the northwest corner of our building, closer to our’s than to theirs. The pen is visible from my living and bed room windows. It’s the first thing one sees when entering or leaving my unit. It is not visible from their front door however. Wonder how they would feel having a chicken coop so close to their own front door. I had a friend of mine who’s in real estate research the owner. These chicken people are renters. The owner is Peder Nielsen, a local real estate agent who owns several rental properties around the city. Yep, it’s his name on the rental sign in front of their building. My friend also feels the chickens devalue our property and would make at least the rear units more difficult to sell. I’m composing a letter to Mr. Nielsen but I’m wondering if it might be more effective to send one from the condo association as well. It’s got to devalue his property as well, plus make the other unit more difficult to rent. The whole thing is silly. It’s just a couple of Northwest idiots thinking they’re cool by having chickens. 2 hens are not going to produce more than a dozen or so eggs per week if they’re lucky. They only lay eggs for a year or so. What happens then? More chickens for more eggs, particularly in a year when the current chickens no longer produce yet have turned into pets? These people have no idea what they’re doing. If they knew anything about chickens, there wouldn’t be a coop in that space to begin with. Any thoughts or opinions? I guess it’s obvious I’m pretty ticked off about this.
Geez! He even took the time to do research on this! And I won’t bother to include the avalanche of responses from other equally concerned condo members.
I guess I won’t be very popular around here for long as I am not going to support the HOA (Home Owners Association) on this one. As long as chickens are treated well and given space to roam, I have no problem with them. Speaking of filth, the main complainer is a chain smoker and throws his butts out over the railing of his unit (or perhaps his friends do this as I have never actually seen who does it) and the unsightly butts land into my container garden. I patiently pick up the cigarette butts whenever I see them and dispose of them.
I am all for chickens who run freely in a grassy area and friendly young hippy boys with their whole beautiful lives ahead of them. I welcome your insights and comments!