Local man tires of early morning cock

I just received the following note from an angry reader in Ypsi, and, as we haven’t discussed the subject of city chickens in a while, I thought that I’d repost here… His note, as you will soon see, is primarily about roosters, but I’d be curious to know, now that we’ve had the urban chicken ordinance for about two years, how it’s working out for folks. Are there any issues, outside of unwanted roosters, that need to be addressed? If you have chickens, is your egg production good? Do you have any tips to share with other folks who are raising chickens, or thinking about raising chickens? Have you ever broken the law and slaughtered a chicken within the city? If so, was it tasty? Any chicken-related comments are welcome…. Now, here’s that letter that I was telling you about.

At first I thought it novel, even though I recall that roosters were NOT a part of the deal for having chickens in one’s backyard. I thought perhaps they were breeding and borrowed the rooster for a spell, having rec’d permission from neighbors for having said rooster so he could fuck his chickens (with the rooster).

But that was three or four weeks ago. I hear the rooster daily. Not from my house; it doesn’t bother me. I hear it, though, on dog walks, from blocks away, in the still of a 6:15 morning. (The rooster seems to be on Forest.) And I think that, were I a neighbor, or even a relatively close homeowner who likes to sleep with my windows open, that this would piss me the fuck off. The ordinanance was for no roosters, if I’m not mistaken. Do some people have free passes? Can Ypsi not police this? Has the law changed? Does this person perhaps have signed consent forms from all neighbors within a quarter-mile radius that they’re fine with it?

I only get self-righteous about it because I think backyard chickens are awesome, but backyard in-town roosters are not. I love walking by chicken coops when I take the dog down alleys. However, what I don’t love is this rooster issue. I can see this getting out of hand; someone else in the area finds out about this person’s cock and thinks, hey, they’re getting away with it, so why can’t I? Then there are more and more cocks, and I have to listen to cocks every morning.

And so, yeah, I’m really curious moreso than anything. You heard anything about roosters in town? People breaking the chicken law?

The gall of this person to flaunt a fought-for chickens ordinance with the addition of a rooster, as I said, pisses me off.

So, to sum up, he likes having chickens in the city, but has an issue with roosters. Was that clear?

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27 Comments

  1. Ale Roka
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    The neighbors have chickens. They were in my yard. The four of them found a rather large toad. I watched helplessly as the pecked it to death, the toad writhing, surrounded, with no possible path of escape from their Ginsu beaks. Peck. Flesh. Peck. Writhe. Peck. Twist. Tear. Rip flesh. Tear rip peck puncture peck peck peck…

    I felt ill. Helpless. It got worse.

    The biggest hen grabbed the toad and tried to swallow it whole. But it could only get half in. The top half. The bottom half bulged through a fully spread beak. The toad’s legs still twitched, for a while, at least. Then they went limp, and then the other hens got crazy jealous. What followed still leaves me pale. The big hen took off running, it’s mouth still stuffed wide with toad, trying to choke it down, the toad’s now limp legs bouncing with every step, three blood thirsty hens in close pursuit, squawking, drooling, ready to tear the toad out of their fellow’s throat.

    That’s when I passed out. I don’t remember what happened next.

    I still wake with night terrors from this. Sometimes I’m the hen. Sometimes I’m the toad. Sometimes I’m both, and it’s my limp legs hanging out of my own mouth as I run naked around my yard with giant chickens scratching and clawing, scratching, pecking, howling like wolves. Other times I’m an entree at a Chinese buffet, surrounded by Chickens, breathing through the sneeze guard, wielding chops sticks and soy sauce.

    I no longer feel safe in my own backyard. I can’t sleep. I can no longer can eat chicken.

    So yes, there are problems.

  2. Zp
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    That toad story is hilarious.

    I like having hens, no roosters. I’m building an enormous coop.

  3. Quakenbush
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I’ll bet that neighbor with the rooster got chicks this spring and the rooster revealed his roosterness within the past few weeks and they don’t know what to do about it.

    I like having chickens and they lay lots of eggs. They do kill toads, though, that is true. I’ve seen it. It’s sad.

  4. Cooter
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Our hens are pretty noisy, but not rooster noisy. Still, next flock that we get, we will probably look for a less mouthy breed. Luckily we are neighborless on 3 of 4 sides, so that helps. But they can be heard 4-5 house down, we are told.

    Egg production has been good, almost continuous for almost the past 2 years, which has been shocking, since we expected them to molt or to slow down in the winter. I can also confirm that the hens will eat just about anything, including toads (we have a small backyard pond that hatches thousands of toads, so they help to keep things in check). But mice, insects, leftovers, compost, etc…they will eat it, and fight over the good stuff like hyenas.

    We did have to put one down that was sick…. Is that the same as slaughtering it? We didn’t eat it, so somehow i think that makes it ok.

  5. Proper Lines
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    My immediate neighbors have chickens. Due to allergies, I’m not generally an animal lover. But as urban animals go, the chickens are quite nice. They turn gardens, keep quiet (extremely quiet when compared to dogs), and make breakfast. I’m always glad to feed them when the neighbors are out of town, and my kid and I enjoy giving them occasional scraps.

    I’d ban urban cats and dogs before chickens. Ale Roka, while I can sympathize with your trauma, I suggest it pales when compared to sight of a bird in a cat’s claw or squirrel in a dog’s grinning mouth (I can no longer eat cats or dogs). But I might be biased as it turns out that I’m not allergic to chickens.

    Roosters would cross the line. But that’s the equivalent of someone abusing the law that allows four cats by having forty running feral. Call the city.

  6. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    You liked typing and publishing the word “cock” he he didn’t you Mark? Boys are so silly!

  7. Cock Aigne
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    This is no cock-and-bull, but I’ve lived next to people with cockatoos, cockatiels, cockapoos, and cocker-spaniels. All their cocksure owners promised me they’d be quiet as cocksfoot. As you might guess that was cockeyed cockamamie! The cockeyed cocksuckers might as well been throwing a cocktail party in a cockpit. I had a good mind to cock my arm and let those cockroaches have it. But I have too much cockalorum for that, so I kept to my cockloft.

    Folks are losing their taste for everything, cats, dogs, chickens, frogs. Well I’ve had my fill of cock and I don’t miss it.

  8. Kristin
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Shades of “Get off my lawn!” especially if the chickens are heard at a distance. As for the toad thing, why don’t toads get on the move? I’ve seen them just sit there and accept long and ultimately fatal pawings at the hands of racoons, and that they really just sit there. It seems nature’s way.

  9. Posted June 2, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    This is so stupid. If a person wants to live in total silence, they should move to the desert.

  10. EL
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Seems complaining about a rooster’s not the same as advocating for total city silence. Live in a house with a rooster in the next yard over who screams “Motherfucker” every ten seconds, every morning, for a couple hours.

  11. Posted June 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    There are roosters all over African cities and it’s so not a big deal to hear them.

  12. zp
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Overall I would say the urban chicken experiment is very successful. As far as I can tell we haven’t spawned an Ypsi cock-fighting circuit.

    I agree with Quackenbush about the accidental rooster thing. You don’t always know what you’re going to get when you buy chicks.

    We love the eggs, the kids love the chickens, the neighbors seem be OK with everything. pretty good overall.

  13. Kim
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Yes, let’s aspire to be like Africa. If we continue to whittle away at the minimum wage, environmental standards and public education, I think we can be there in another ten years.

  14. Suzie
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Haha, that’s a great email. “I’m not pissed off, but if I were, I’d be really pissed off, or at least pissed off enough to ask Mark Maynard to champion this anti-rooster cause that I don’t want to champion myself. I mean, I like chickens. Some of my best friends are chickens.”

  15. Posted June 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Kim, with respect, you don’t know much about Africa.

  16. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I hear a rooster morning noon and night and I like it. It is more preferable than the local dog who sounds off like an alarm clock in a very annoying way. The complainant isn’t even close enough to be bothered, he hears it on his walk… I root for the rooster.

  17. Posted June 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Exactly! Why should dogs and drunken college students get free passes while roosters do not? It’s hypocrisy at its worst.

    People should be free to have any type of animal they like, barring leakage of animal waste and danger to humans. Chickens are raised in urban areas all over the planet, hence my previous comment. In the US, we choose to think of urban spaces as being sanctuaries, far outside the dirty spaces of food production.

    I vote to have people grow whatever the fuck they want, where they want. At the very least it will educate people on how food is produced, and the value of healthy and ethical farming practices.

    These rooster haters can piss off. When they get rid of the dogs, too, they can bitch all they want.

  18. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I really am intrigued with getting chickens, but then we already have the quandary of cat care when traveling…I am not sure I want that much responsibility …or eggs. But for some reason that rooster crowing does make me smile.

  19. Posted June 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but I once proposed turning Water Street into a giant slaughterhouse / hog rendering plant. Maybe it’s time to revisit that concept.

    If I remember correctly, I also had an amusement park tied to the facility, which had a Log Flume of Blood! Tell me that wouldn’t put Ypsi on the fucking map.

  20. Posted June 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    It’s been brought to my attention that if anyone has a problem with a local rooster/chicken/bee, the proper response would be to call the code enforcement folks in the Ypsi Building Department. Their number is 482-1025.

    Apparently that works better than writing a letter to a blogger.

  21. Posted June 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to search now for YouTube videos of chickens eating toads.

  22. dragon
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    “do ducks eat toads” is the search you’re looking for.

  23. dragon
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    p.s.
    @Ale Roka
    Bravo!

  24. Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Who is up for a collective goat/sheep or cattle herd. Between all of our parks and water street we probably have well over a hundred acres to graze them in. we could take turns herding them between grazing areas. I know it is not the same as having your own hen house in your back yard, but for those of us who like dogs (border collies preferred) and like morning and evening walks, we could be helping to make the city greener. My 2nd. cousin in Poland raises chickens in his back yard (raises chicks for sell, more so than for the eggs) but he also has an interest in the village cow herd.

  25. lorie thom
    Posted June 3, 2011 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    We have chickens…they were controversial when they arrived but by the traffic we get (meaning families and neighbors who come to see them every day – even in winter) I’d say they are a big success. We love them and the eggs – why would anyone eat an egg if they didn’t know where its been and for how long?

  26. cmadler
    Posted June 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I agree with wetdolphinmissile, I’d gladly trade the dog across the street for a rooster!

  27. Pa
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should take up a earplug collection for your sensitive readers.

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