I'm specifically thinking about my own county of Centre County Pa - a rural county with pretensions of being an urban county because of the influence of Penn State University.
What's the best way to try to get chicken and food animal husbandry for small landholders declared legal again?
I haven't been able to find a document defining the actual regulations with my first crude searches at the centre county website: http://www.co.centre.pa.us/default.asp
There's a section that is behind a paywall, maybe in there? That seems unfair, if true, hiding regulations behind a paywall.
Or do we look at the townships first?
While researching ordinances nationally in preparation to do battle with our own "powers that be" on the Backyard Chicken issue, I'd say 95% of what I've found is at the individual village/town and township level. A county reg would apply if a smaller body of gov't hasn't declared anything more specific or different.
I just did a quick check for "Centre County" on BackyardChickens.com and found these two small farms with poultry in that county. They are very active on the Forum. Use the "Contact Us" info on their websites; I'm sure they would share what they know about regs, and might be helpful in pointing you towards more specific resources in Central PA:
http://tatsfarm.webs.com/ in Farwell, Pennsylvania
lol, I did the same search, that backyard chickens site is great, I dunno if the php search url will work if posted lets see: http://www.backyardchickens.com/search-results.php?cx=partner-pub-9...
I saw the crestview farms thing but thought - with a name like crestview farms, and the poultry sales sig, those folks must be real farmers with more then 10 acres, and I got from Chips writing the idea that this was a regulation that only applied to people with less then 10 acres of land - like me with my measly two acres.
What's ironic is I have a dairy farm a hundred yards away from my place, with roosters that crow, and it hadn't really occured to me that a different set of laws would apply to me cuz I'm a little landowner.
Not that I have moved this thought closer to the center of my mind, I see it as a fascinating injustice. And I'm wondering if transition can make political hay ouit of the chicken and food animals issue.
I think I'd like to try raising ducks and rabbits.
Where on the net did you find that bit about 1917? link please.
Something that transition faces that transition people seem to ignore is that almost every imaginable law and regulation and local government wonk and good-old-boys-network member is against us and hates everything we stand for.
All summed up in that most consumer society of keyphrases - "property values".
We are going to have to go political, and build into our efforts a political action arm.
Or be willing to be illegals, and fight the way illegals fight.
Sorry, I can't comment on your local rules and regs. But if it were me, I would contact my immediately adjacent neighbors and get their opinion of your idea of chickens. Try to explain how backyard chickens are nothing like factory chickens housed cramped pens stacked to the ceiling, in giant buildings.
If none of your neighbors is adamantly opposed, I think I would just do it. But do it as discreetly as possible, and build your coop to be very well insulated, (for heat, but noise too). Design your coop to look like a garden shed, and maybe even match the color and trim of your house. Don't let your rooster crow outside unless it is decent hours for humans to be awake. Be tidy and don't get behind on your chores to keep any possible odors to a minimum. Then, as soon as your hens start laying, be generous with your neighbors and bring them eggs. If nobody complains, then I doubt the authorities will be bothered. If someone complains, well, then you may have the beginnings of an argument on your hands - ya never know, you might be the first to get the laws changed! Or, you might be the first to prove that the law will be ignored, if good neighbor practices are followed.
PS. All that is just my two bits, not legal advice, of course... lol
PPS. You don't have to have a rooster, but conventional wisdom is flock dynamics are much better with one, and if you want wee lil peeps without buying them, well then a rooster is a requirement - and the only way to be self-reliant.
I think it is important to try and do this legal - raise the issue - address the issues - get more people thinking about the alternatives to a planetary food system. Chickens seem to be a good place to start because of the salmonella in eggs problems with factory production. There are more reasons to support local food than peak oil and climate change. At least you will find out which of your city officials is opposed and have a shot at a better outcome after the next election.
There is a middle way between illegal and changing the ordinance. That is to apply for a variance. With a variance you can include restictions that address the kinds of concerns that Chip lists. It is also good to poll your neighbors and get their buy in. Notice to the neighbors is usually required in the variance process.
I am interested in a middle way between producing for the market and self-sufficiency. Trying to be self-sufficient is a lonely road limited by a family's resources. A neighborhood, on the other hand, has lots of extra resources that could be devoted to food production. I think of it like a joint venture among the neighbors - a sharing of the cost in materials and labor to be able to generate fresh, healthy food for ourselves. I think in terms of multiple use facilities like the ones we are working on in my group here in Colorado.
If a group of neighbors went to the town council for a variance for such a facility I don't see any upside to a council member voting against it - if no one is objecting and the request is made by a block of voters like that. If anyone wants to work on that kind of a neighborhood project let me know so we can compare notes and share information.
Agreed that the best approach will vary by circumstance. But this idea of involving the neighbors in a "neighborhood sufficiency" project is specifically related to this issue of cost. If we don't do something because it is beyond our personal resources, that is a limitation imposed by our "cowboy"/independent/self-sufficiency mentality (I know, I'm as guilty as anyone). If we got say ten families involved then a grand is not that big a deal - particularly where each family is spending $100.00 a week at the grocery store.
A sustainable community is a whole new set of transactions in which the community produces goods and services for internal consumption.
Well, we got the chicken ordinance changed in our town for our Zone, but we rode in on a General Plan change which facilitated things. Nonetheless, it was not a quick, easy road.
Anyway, just saw this Grist article on Urban Eggtivism -- How to Get Your City to Allow Backyard Chickens. Might be helpful.
Nice link, thanks kindly for passing it along.
No, not a quick and easy road. We sometimes imagine that we could put our case, get some debate, fall back, address the concerns, hold for a consensus and move an idea forward. Never quite so simple.