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Kate Bennett: Trolls Ate My Chicken!

Chickens good. Unga Unga. -From the Primordial Forest

Oh, where to begin. I suppose with Lord save me from all conspiracy theorists of the inflated-head variety. 

In a "journalistic" to my chicken-related blog, I was accused of master-minding a vast chicken-wing conspiracy. This accusation was based on comments on my husband's Facebook page (creepy) and my own desire to have Geneva allow backyard chickens. All I really have to say is this: There is no chicken-wing conspiracy. 

Unfortunately, the accusation of the conspiracy completely overtook the comments section of the article in question. No worries, chicken fans and foes. I have facts, and unlike opinions (among other things), only people who read and research have those. 

Firstly, chickens are not loud. Hens produce sounds at about 63 decibels. (Ahem, fact!) That's about the noise of two people talking. (Facts are fun!) Oh, and here's the wiki on that. Other sources list hens between 60 and 70 decibels. For the sake of comparison, since we don't all think in decibels, here is a helpful list (of facts!)

Here is a list of common noises and their decibel levels:

  • Aircraft at take-off (180)
  • Fireworks (140)
  • Snowmobile (120)
  • Chain saw (110)
  • Amplified music (110)
  • Lawn mower (90)
  • Noisy office (90)
  • Vacuum cleaner (80)
  • City traffic (80)
  • Normal conversation (60)
  • Refrigerator humming (40)
  • Whisper (20)
  • Leaves rustling (10)
  • Calm breathing (10)

Source (Oh em gee, a source!! A source of facts!)

But dear God, the filth! Oh those filthy, filthy chickens. Chickens are so filthy that it takes six of them to produce the same amount of excrement as a dog. Or a really bad attempt at journalism with a side of cyber-creeping, topped with utterly lunatic conclusions. Ok, it might take more than 6 chickens to come up with that. 

"So while the rest of us are screaming at the city to keep costs down, now code enforcers are supposed to deal with rogue chicken coops? Yes! The city could always implement some sort of chicken husbandry charge, but considering that Batavia’s had all of seven applications, it would have to be one heck of a fee to make it worth their while."

I really love this one. So is it that seven is too many to enforce, or that seven is not enough to make an annual fee cover the cost? And what cost, exactly, are we talking about here? Unless the city is considering inspecting every dog-owner's yard for poop, I don't see why they would need to inspect each and every chicken coop for same. 

"When we stepped out of that primordial forest to band together in settlements, we chose to give up certain facets of our solitary life in exchange for the benefits of a shared existence. And if I recall correctly, one of those things was chickens."

You, dear "journalist," recall incorrectly. People in settlements had, and still have, chickens. I am not even going to provide a helpful link to back up that fact (there is that pesky word again) or quote any sort of statistic. Because duh, that's why. 

So bottom line, you can attack me, attack bloggers, and accuse me of crazy unbelievable conspiracies to promote my chicken-loving agenda, but it doesn't change the facts (!) of the case. 

Chickens are not a problem in an urban setting. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Brown August 28, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Kate: Please move to a rural environment. NO BARNYARD ANIMALS in Geneva please. I don't care about your chicken "facts". I don't want my neighbors raising chickens, pigs, cornish hens, sheep, goats, cows or bees because I don't want to hear them or hear them in my URBAN neighborhood.
Kate Bennett August 28, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I would love to! And will just as soon as someone gives me back the 25 percent value lost on my home!
Robert August 28, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I still have fond members while I was a graduate student at U. of Illinois in the 90s of walking through downtown Urbana and seeing a well manicured lawn with 3 beautiful Buff Cochin chickens in the yard. The house was a Victorian and the lawn had a picket fence, a nice little garden in the back and the chicken coop was attached to the garage. The coop looked like a Victorian potting shed, it was quite nice. Down there the chickens must not have to be restricted to wired coops because these chickens walked the front lawn looking for bugs. I made it a point to walk by this house as and traveled to campus. I never heard any racket or noise, the yard and lawn were impeccable and the chickens we obviously well cared for and loved. Until the nay sayers actually see such a really neat site it will be difficult to get them beyond the chicken stereotypes.
Sara Elliott August 28, 2012 at 07:08 PM
No one is suggesting sheeps, goats, or cows. If a neighbor had chickens in a closed coop in a back yard and you could not hear them or smell them, why in the world would you be opposed? The city does allow dogs, after all, who create more noise and smell than chickens would. Does you use of quotes around the word "facts" suggest that you simply don't believe facts exist? If you are so easily able to dismiss reality, then it shouldn't be a problem for you to ignore a few "chickens" either.
Kate Bennett August 28, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I agree, Sarah! And would also like to know why "facts" is in quotes.
Kate Bennett August 28, 2012 at 09:15 PM
That does sound very nice. I have memory envy now.
Scott Lang August 29, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Amen, Tom. It's a moot point for me in Fisher Farms. Covenants restrict keeping of any animals other than cats and dogs...that trumps city ordinances.
Donna Mead August 29, 2012 at 12:25 AM
I have a good friend in another state in a very urban area, a very classy, upscale, college town... with a chicken coop in his back yard. He loves it.
Martha Hanna August 29, 2012 at 01:54 AM
I live in Batavia and have chickens on either side of me...now that the roosters are gone all is good. It's been about 15 years now and I am still alive and well!
Kate Bennett August 29, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Martha, roosters are the devil. I am not sure I could live next door to a rooster and maintain sanity.
Kate Bennett August 29, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Donna, I would love any and all pictures of the chickens/coop, or any anecdotes, your friend doesn't mind sharing. Please feel free to like http://www.facebook.com/TheChickenPetition?ref=hl and share any info. I would appreciate it! I know that people worry about associating our great community with what is perceived as undesirable, and I agree. I just don't think chickens should be on the undesirable list!
Tom Brown August 29, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Sarah: Well, if Kate get's chickens, why can't I have a pig?...and don't get me started on dogs. I moved out of my last neighborhood in St. Charles because all my neighbors with their tiny lots got big dogs that howled all night. I moved to Geneva to get some sleep! Robert has "fond members" of chickens roaming free in the yards of Urbana, but you're talking about some imaginary chicken coop where the chickens can't be heard seen or smelled? Talk about no grip on reality! OK, I'll compromise. You can have your out of sight, noiseless, orderless chicken coop if your lot is over 5 acres. Each adjacent property owner has to approve it in writing before you start. Since there are no 5 acre lots in my ward, it'll be a non-issue for me. Sorry rich people, you're neighbors get to have pet chickens. The "reality" you're ignoring is the property value of my home and the homes of my non-chicken raising neighbors. Sheesh...get a clue.
Robert August 29, 2012 at 05:51 PM
@Tom, So glad you are able to come to the conclusion that I have no grip on reality by reading my short paragraph. Well, my cranial nerve 1 works fine and I smelled nothing as I hung out watching the Urbana chickens. And these "imaginary" chickens were quite quiet. Glad you are so knowledgeable and my poor uneducated sole can only conjure up fairy tale memories. Get a grip. I can tell you must be a real joy to have as a neighbor, think I'd prefer your pet pig. Go get some of your well needed sleep, maybe you will wake up less of an old curmudgeon.
Kate Bennett August 30, 2012 at 08:18 PM
You want a pig? I think you would hard pressed to come up with any stats about chickens causing a negative impact on property values, to be honest. Now, my neighbor slashing 50k off his asking price over the last few months...
Kat Hoffman August 31, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Dear Tom..... WOW! Here in URBAN Batavia we allow chickens. There havent been issues, we have rules like only hens, placement of cage on property and how many. If someone wants to be able to PROVIDE their family with fresh eggs daily they should be able to. Signed a PRO CHICKEN supporter
Tom Brown August 31, 2012 at 04:25 PM
OK, one more time. I've responded to Robert's post about 3 times now and it doesn't seem to get published. Am I doing something wrong? Have the pro-chicken people come to the conclusion they're not getting anywhere with me? Thanks
Tom Brown August 31, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Wow, that one posted. OK! Robert: I did not conclude that you have no grip on reality. Look again at that post. It was addressed to Sarah. I concluded that Sarah had conjured a "closed coop" in her mind that did not allow odors or sounds or sight of chickens by any neighbors. Robert, you have "fond members" of Urbana chickens roaming free...not that there's anything wrong with that. Now I'm confused. Are we letting the chickens roam free? Are we keeping them confined to closed, soundproof, sight proof and ordorless cages? Seems cruel to the chickens. Are we allowing roosters or not? How far from property lines? How far from the house? Minimum lot size? Has Geneva grown an "upscale college" while I wasn't looking? Again, ask any realtor what he/she thinks about permitting chickens in an urban setting like this before complaining about falling property values.
Kat Hoffman August 31, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I'd take several chickens over a closed minded always needs to be right neighbor anyday!
Tom Brown September 01, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Kat: I don't always need to be right, just online and just about chickens. You didn't really expect to change anyone's mind about this, did you? Believe me, I'm not the only one in this town who would rather not have chickens being bred next door. ...Again, ask any good realtor.

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