Monday, June 20, 2011

Flocking to Central Jersey

The growing interest in suburban chicken raising has caused a few ruffled feathers between the pro- and anti-chicken residents in various towns.

Well, maybe not so much anti-chicken as anti-rooster. Because roosters crow.

And this conflict can only increase. In a March article the owner of Rosedale Mills in Hopewell Township reported that they "...used to sell 1,000 chicks a year. Last year we sold more than 3,000...".

It seems safe to surmise that a fair number of those chicks will become roosters and this being a mostly suburban area, they will become pet roosters...with names. A Barnstable, Massachusetts ordinance refers to them as "non-agricultural roosters."

Now, any parent knows that once the family names their chick there will be a problem if it turns into a rooster. Hopewell Township's ordinance states "...Any cockerel (defined as a young male chicken) that crows must be culled or permanently removed from the property within five (5)days..." [FYI for all you non-farmers from Wikipedia: "Culling usually implies the killing of animals with undesirable characteristics."]

Recently I overheard some joking about the Hopewell Township's recent regulation of roosters' sex lives. Their attempts to legislate conjugal visits by limiting the number of nights that roosters can visit the hens even made the international news, rating a Reuters article.

If you are interested, the Hopewell Ordinance "Standards for Keeping Chickens" is available online.

I checked the online ordinances in Hillsborough and couldn't find any chicken raising laws, but the HNJJ roost probably doesn't have enough property for even a small flock. A 4H project rooster lives in a nearby development with larger lots and he crows at various times...not so much at night. It allows us to fantasize that we live in the country. He is a very handsome rooster and well award winner.

I'm not sure I would feel so kindly toward him if our house were adjacent to his coop and/or his harem.

"The more excited the rooster gets, the higher his voice goes. He's got a little bit of a Barney Fife quality to him." - Jeff Foxworthy

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