Well, we knew that it was going to be inevitable. Barnstable now has a law regarding chickens. With the popular trend of gentleman farming and people starting to keep backyard flocks of their own, it only took a few careless chicken keepers to force the hand of the lawmakers in the Town of Barnstable. With the assistance and guidance of the Barnstable Agricultural Commission, a new law regarding poultry keeping in the town was passed and will become effective come the beginning of June 2011.
Complaints have been few but those that have occurred have been difficult for mediators and town officials to resolve without having any laws to assist them with their efforts. Noise caused by roosters has been the issue. Can you believe that people in our town have gone so far as to tape record their rooster's crowing and play it back to the neighbors at extreme volumes? Well, it happened. So, now we have new regulations.
The new regulation is only in regard to roosters. There are no laws or restrictions to keeping a flock of hens in your backyard. You can continue to keep your flock. The new law will enforce individuals living on less than 5 acres to only keep 1 rooster. Unless you live on 2 acres or more and can show $1000 farming profit on your property, you cannot keep more than one. All rooster will need to be housed and locked up between the hours of 7pm and 7am. In addition, there are similar guidelines for noise complaints based upon the Dog Noise Ordinance in the town.
The law no longer applies to Tilly's Nest as we have rehomed Chocolate, but I must say that he became incredibly symbolic to me while we tried to reach a fair and reasonable ordinance. He represented backyard roosters. We practiced good rooster management and our neighbors adored him. He was one of the reasons why I became involved and eventually became a member of the Agricultural Commission. It was important for me to make sure that people who were considerate with their rooster would be able to keep them and not be penalized for the behavior of a few bad eggs.