I looked on-line this morning to see if anything was going on about keeping roosters in the town of Barnstable. There was a lot of talk this summer about roosters disrupting the peace. Thus, I have been diligently monitoring the local newspaper. Lo and behold, while on-line, I saw it. My stomach started churning. Just as I foresaw, the town's Agricultural Commission is having a meeting next week and roosters are on the agenda.
According to one of our local papers, The Barnstable Patriot, the Barnstable Agricultural Commission is going to see if they can regulate roosters, zoning, lot size, flock size, and impose fines for noise nuisance. Not only was this upsetting to me, but I felt that roosters are taking the blame for doing what comes natural to them.
My chickens are my pets. Some people have dogs, cats, fish, parakeets, parrots and the like. I have chickens. They are members of our household. We tend to their every need. They have shelter, food, water, bedding, toys and treats. We bring them to the vet when they are sick. I hold the chickens and they nuzzle into me with love. We carry on conversations. We sit and enjoy one another's company. Hmmmm, that sounds just like what dog and other pet owners enjoy.
Does my rooster crow? Yes. He typically does not crow earlier than 7am and sometimes will crow during the day. The last time I saw him crow during the day was when there was a hawk in the yard. He was keeping the flock safe. So how is my rooster different from my neighbors' dogs that bark in the night? What about a colicky baby crying in the summer while the windows are open? How about my neighbor that has his telephone ringer turned up all the way that sometimes fools me into thinking it is my phone? How is it different from my neighbor revving his Harley at 7am in the summer when he gets ready to ride to work? What about my other neighbor who seems to drive a street legal monster truck? What about my neighbor's house alarm that goes off in the middle of the night? How about noisy summer parties that go late into the evening? What about leaf blowers? The list goes on. I think you get my point.
There is something called courtesy. Do my neighbors partake in noisy endeavors? Sometimes. It doesn't bother me because I think it is just part of living in a neighborhood. Overall, we are all pretty courteous to one another. We try to be courteous with our chickens. I keep the flock locked up in the coop until 8am. In the winter, they go in for the night around 4:30 pm and in the summer around 7:30 pm. We planted fast growing Leland Cypress trees for added privacy and built a low profile coop. We have even incorporated the coop into our existing gardens.
Shouldn't those individuals that had roosters and coop set-ups prior to these potential new laws be grandfathered in? I have now had my chickens for six months. I have invested a good deal of money and time into creating my chickens' home and a composting system. I would be deeply saddened to have to get rid of my pet rooster simply because he was crowing. He is part of my family. I will not put him up for adoption or give him to someone to make a soup! As a family member, I will fight for him. There can be other solutions. I will try to reason with this commission. My fear is that maybe the Board members might not understand and have not experienced the love of a rooster.
My hope is to come away from the meeting grandfathered in before new laws take effect. We should be allowed to maintain our current coop set-ups. I would agree to annual inspections. I am reasonable.
Please let our rooster live out his life with his chicken family. After he dies, I would agree to not have any more roosters. Please don't forget that these chickens are some peoples' pets. I have had many dogs in the past. I can tell you that the love I feel for my chickens is the same.