On Friday (9/25/2015) I sent this to our state senators. I've since been contacted by Senator Farnsworth, the creator of SB 1151, and he wants to meet with us to discuss backyard chickens. I'll update when that happens...finally getting exposure!
I am writing to you about backyard chickens. I am hoping that since SB 1151 failed in April 2014 some of you may have had the opportunity to learn more about backyard chicken keeping and how they are no more of a nuisance than a feral cat or a dog barking.
There are already many cities in the Phoenix metro area that allow chickens. The codes vary from city to city such as: distance away from neighbors back patio, number of chickens a resident is allowed to have on their property,to not being allowed on residential property at all.
I’m not sure I understand how or why having backyard chickens is even an issue. They are one of the most harmless creatures on the planet; they can do so many different things for so many people. They are therapeutic after a long stressful day at work, they are quiet and pretty much keep to themselves unless they are laying an egg, they are a complete joy to have and have some of the best personalities, please see below for more examples:
Top 10 items you may not know about chickens:
1. you do not need a rooster for a hen to lay an egg
2. production of eggs slows down in the winter time as there is not sufficient sunlight for the chicken, they need 14-16 hours of sunlight to lay an egg
3. their coops are a mess and stink, only if they are not cleaned regularly, and I might add, that if they do stink it is not as bad as a cat’s litter box
4. they are loud and obnoxious all day and night, they are only loud when they are laying an egg generally and they put themselves to bed each night as the sun goes down
5. in the early 1940’s the government encouraged people to be self-sufficient, including raising their own flocks of chickens
6. pest control, yes they will eat scorpions that many of us have here in Arizona, along with spiders and ticks just to name a few
7. weed control, they will eat most weeds, they are smart, they know which weeds they can and can’t eat
8. eggs from hens raised with access to your backyard are tastier and more nutritious, they're not only higher in omega-3s, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, D, and E, but they're lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.
9. they will eat most of your table scraps
10. they are easy to care for, believe it or not, they are a very low maintenance animal, give them fresh water and food daily and they are happy
Chickens are an inexpensive way for families to try to be as self-sufficient on their own property on a small scale, they just require a bit of care to check their water and food each morning and night. More and more families want to be self sufficient, they have vegetable gardens, they grow their own fruit trees, they can their own food, they want to know where their food is coming from. Raising backyard chickens is an easy way to be a bit more self-sufficient.
I personally want to thank Representative Boyer, when he received my original e-mail he was concerned and continued to keep in touch with me throughout the process of us trying to fight the city of Glendale to keep our girls. It really meant the world to me and gave me some hope that maybe just maybe something could be worked out with the city.
Unfortunately, the city did not see things our way and we did have to move our girls, they live about 6 miles away from us, on a family friends property, but they do not look after them the way that we did. My husband has gone over at least once a day to give them fresh water and make sure they have food, if he isn’t able to someone else in the family takes care of it, needless to say this could have been avoided had SB 1151 passed, we could have kept our girls with us. We were heart broken and still are, the day of the move we lost 2 girls due to the stress of the move and heatstroke and then another one of our girls died a week later after a feral cat attacked her, when we found her she was completely plucked of her feathers on her back and chest and covered in ants, and again this too could have been avoided had SB 1151 passed. We've made the difficult decision this week to move them to a new permanent home within the next month with a new family, they need to be at a home that they are looked after every morning and night like they were when they were on our property, it just isn’t fair to them.
I’m sure you think this isn’t your problem and your right it's not, but truthfully, there is no realistic reason that backyard chickens are not allowed, if they are allowed in some of the cities and towns in Arizona then why aren’t they allowed in all of them? Why do some cities have certain codes that will allow them while other’s have complete opposites, I know this isn’t your question to answer, but it is something that you can do for your constituents, by creating a something similar to SB 1151 and it won't cost the state a penny.
Thank you again, and I hope that something similar to SB 1151 is brought up again and passed, I know it would make a lot of people in this state happy, after all, those that want chickens already have them regardless of any city code, they just haven’t been caught or turned in to code yet, which means that their neighbors do not have a problem with them raising backyard chickens.