Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Good Fight

I haven't posted in awhile. Mostly because things stalled out and I didn't want to say anything to jeopardize my chances at getting these little girls a home in Norfolk. However, I think people should know how it is going.

So FIVE weeks... that is right FIVE weeks ago the city asked me for a waste management plan and the blueprint rendering of the chicken coop. I had to list the type of material I would be using (down to the gage of the wire) and what I would do with the waste water after washing their coop out. Which is really just silly as you don't wash a coop out with water. You actually strive to always have a very dry coop and use wood chips, sand, straw as an absorbent layer and just sweep that away. (into our pest proof composter) So I was a little annoyed I was being regulated by people who don't even know how to care for chickens themselves.

But I complied and sent in all my material... FIVE weeks ago. Since then I have emailed Agnes Flemming, the environmental health manager, twice a week asking how the process was coming, if she needed additional material, if she wanted a meeting, if she needed to meet the chickens. Last week when I emailed she simply replied she had made her recommendation and it was now at the health directors desk. She did this without informing me she made a decision, without us meeting, without anything. Grrr. So I have now emailed the health director twice without any emails back. Next Tuesday I am calling and if I don't get a reply I will just go in. I don't really think three chickens should actually take FIVE weeks of the city's time. It is pretty yes or no. And if there are questions I think I should be involved in mitigating those problems before recommendations are made.

The chickens are currently out at Beekeeper Franks house. They are doing well and enjoying all the space.
Moe said goodbye. He misses them a lot and always looks for them. 

Their half-way house. :( They have been moved to a big cage with a run but I wish they weren't there at all.

They were excited with the fresh air. 

The pretty yard they get to look at! 

This also seems to be how the beekeeping ban is going. They schedule a meeting about the ordinance and then cancel it without informing anyone. They were to have a meeting May 10th. I called the evening of May 9th just to confirm the room and was told, "we decided we didn't need it and will just go to public hearing in June." I wrote back how it is REALLY hard to be an involved citizen in the City of Norfolk, when the City of Norfolk has no interest in involving their citizens in any decision making process.

I often wonder what they think of me at the city. I just want to see this chicken thing get done before we move. I just want to hear their reason on WHY chickens would ever be a no. I have heard rumors of why but they are just rumors.

All I know is my babies are growing up out at Frank's and they should be home. I know the city asked for all this information and then has continually ignored me, my emails, and hasn't asked a single question since then.

I will keep you posted. I will keep fighting the good fight. The good chicken fight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Two Months!!

I know I am a terrible blogger but let's be honest for the most part the chickens just sit there.

However, today is their TWO month birthday.

Notice the dust! They are getting so BIG and Bernadette may not be the prettiest. as she gets older. 

Eight weeks is the time when they now have all their grown-up feathers and can be moved outdoors. Brian and I have been counting down until today. Excited to get them out of the apartment. (seriously our apartment is SO dusty)

BUT... today I got a call from the city. I knew I needed a health permit but I really assumed it would be easy as I knew the health director, but now the environmental health department is involved and they need a coop rendering, a waste management plan, and a sit down meeting.

Are you serious?!

So now my chickens are moving out to a nice farmers farm for a few weeks while we get this sorted out. I just think they deserve more space, sunshine, and they need to roost. It is best for their development.

I tried to name drop all over the place this morning with the city's environmental manager. I said I was an MPH in environmental health too, I worked under Chesapeake Health Departments director, my Dad is a veterinarian, I am a farmer with lots of chicken experience but... she said nothing much and just "hmmm" She asked how I would wash their coop and I said I wouldn't as water isn't good for them and she was very concerned. I said I would use cedar chips and compost their waste in an enclosed tumbler but she didn't seem impressed.

I think this may become a painful process. Praying it is just us showing our competence and then moving forward.

Brian and I are very sad our babies have to go further out in the country and I am worried for them. Frank is a great guy though and he has lots of chickens so I know they will be safe.

My poor babies. :( I'll miss them.