Posts Tagged ‘chickens’

I am SOOOOO happy to report, we just got word of the most recent zoning code amendments, that will soon head to city council for approval. It looks like they took our concerns seriously. And, although there are restrictions now, when previously there were no restrictions, in regards to agriculture and agricultural animals, we think the restrictions are fair, and well thought-out. Rob Franklin and the planning commission obviously took our suggestions to heart. And we wanted to thank them for that! So,

Thank you Solon Planning Commission for taking us seriously!

We had some doubts and you proved us wrong.

The current recommendations are not final. They have to be approved by the planning commission, and then head to the council, but I’m sure there will be no further detrimental changes to our cause.

A quick summary of the current code amendments include:

  • 3 chickens/10,000 sq ft for a max of 20 chickens, unless you have over 10 acres. (We don’t see a reason to have more than 20 chickens on a property like ours, so we’re cool with it.) They’ve banned roosters, which might have been something we would be interested in the future, but it’s a compromise we’re willing to accept. Roosters can be aggressive, so we understand their thought.
  • 1 goat, sheep, etc. per 1/2 acre, max. of 5, unless you have 10 or more acres. Again, we think this is fair, and won’t affect our long-term plans.
  • They included set-back requirements for animal houses, size limitations for animal housing, etc. All reasonable and understandable, both for respect to the neighbors, and health of the animals.
  • They specifically listed vegetable production as an accepted accessory use.

I’ll keep an eye out for any zingers that might be thrown in as the amendments head to city council, but we are VERY satisfied. That being said, we also owe YOU a huge Thank you! So many of you came to meetings, wrote letters, and made phone calls to support us. It warms my heart, and means more than words can say. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! We would never had such a success with the city if it weren’t for your support.

Viva La Chickens in Solon! 🙂

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Thanks again!

Linde

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We’ve been wondering since the fall what could have possibly taken 14 of our chickens in one night. With no signs at all of a fight, except for piles of feathers scattered over 2 acres of land, we assumed it was a few coyotes. I suspect we were partially right. Because the other day, I heard the strangest sound, in the middle of the day. I looked out the window, and right beside our house, I saw this:

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She stood there and howled and called for a good 10 minutes before I scared her off. There were footprints right down our front sidewalk. Brazen Coyote! Crazy things happen during mating season, I suppose!

BUT! That’s not all!

A few days earlier, I saw our “suspected” bobcat on our driveway again. I hadn’t seen him for a few months. This time he was bigger, and meaner looking. No questions he was a bobcat this time! I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture of him. But I did get a picture of his prints, which are ALL over our yard.

034About 2.5 inches top to bottom. Looks like we have a big (hungry!) one!

Naturally, since we lost our flock, we’ve been keeping our remaining girls on lock down. But, we’re planning to get crafty so they’ll be safe, but still able to scratch, peck and forage in fresh grass (without becoming lunch!) once the snow melts.

Anyone have any ideas?

-Linde

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We were asked to be in a Solon Times article this week regarding the proposed zoning changes in our city. They wanted us to show off our chickens, since the city is trying to restrict chickens to 2 per household, and until the coyote attack, we had 18. So, we all piled into the coop. I chased a frantic hen around for a while, and then we got this:IMG_1892[1]Not too shabby! Right?!

Then, she pooped in my coat pocket. Oh well, it happens right?

The article is fairly benign, covering both “Sides” of the issue, which include the planning director essentially saying farm animals are bad, and us and our neighbors saying they are not! The weird part is, apparently the planning director, who does not live in our city, has his own farm with chickens and turkeys and what not. Does that strike you as odd, that a guy who wants the right to own these animals himself is trying to restrict our right? Hmmm…

Anyway, the battle is still waging, and it won’t be over until the November ballot I suspect. Until then, if you live in Solon, I implore you to contact your council representative or anyone on the planning commission and give them an earful. It’s the only way they’ll get the message that what we’re doing is GOOD!!

Thanks!

Linde

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If you’ve been following our blog, facebook page, or newsletter, you know at this time last week, we felt under attack. And rightly so. We found out only days before, just by chance, through a cleveland.com article that our farm was in jeopardy because the city has decided to change the zoning laws, seemingly out of nowhere. (As if we aren’t always at jeopardy because of the bugs, deer, coyotes, and constant state of pregnancy by the head farmer. :P) Well, we, as well as nearly a dozen other folks from the city went to a public forum on Tuesday to state our concerns. And luckily, no one had concerns opposing our position, besides, perhaps some on the planning commission.

So, I wanted to give you an update on where we are now.

  • Thankfully, “cultivation of land” is not being prohibited in Solon. It’s not being specifically addressed, it seems, in the paperwork, but per the Planning Director, Rob Frankland, our market garden is safe.
  • The current limitation on chickens is 2 per household  (which we all objected to pretty loud and clearly), UNLESS you already own chickens. So, our 18 (that’s our allowable number since we just recently lost 14 to a coyote attack) chickens are safe. Once the weather breaks, we’ll be replacing them and getting our egg business back up and running (hopefully!)—more on this later.
  • They currently are limiting any farm animal over 30″ at the shoulder, with the exception of horses, mules and ponies. I specifically asked: “What is the difference if I own a mule or a goat?” I didn’t get a straight answer. However, the planning director essentially said these were arbitrary starting points (as I suspected), and that nothing was final.

We didn’t get any straight answers on when any recommended changes might be made. Just a lot of “Nothings final.” and “We want to hear from the residents” Which I was confused by, considering we are the residents. One member also stated “I don’t just want hearsay, I want expert opinion.”-on how many animals should be permitted per property. Which I also didn’t understand since, well, we’re experts since we own the animals, right? And I had just given them articles and contact information for a local person who works at Case Western University and specializes in zoning and planning for animal husbandry and agriculture in the urban area. Regardless, we felt our concerns were heard, and we felt supported by many.

You can read the most recent cleveland.com article HERE, where Rich refers to some Solon residents as animals. (Which was said in jest and everyone laughed. In writing, it doesn’t come across as well. He’s kind of embarrassed as he says “I sound like an old curmudgeon.”)

The goal now is to have residents voice their opinion on how many animals they would tolerate on their neighbor’s property. Should there be restrictions? Should it be based on lot size? Size of the animal? Who knows? These are things they want to hear about. There was a strong support from all our neighbors on Brainard Road. An ENORMOUS “Thank you” to them for coming. And EVERYONE who came. And everyone who wrote letters on our behalf. I get the distinct impression that they were flooded with letters supporting Collingwood Farm. 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

If anyone out there knows of “experts” (i.e. professionals in the agriculture field that could speak to the appropriateness of chickens and other animals in the urban area) I would greatly appreciate their contact information. The more information we get to the planning commission, the more informed their decisions will be.

So, I cautiously say, things are looking up!

Thank you again to you all who support us. We couldn’t do this without you!!

Linde

PS: I don’t believe I mentioned it before, but we’re having another baby! In July! So, we’ll have a 16 month old, and a newborn. So, we might have another slow year farm-wise around here. I’m sure you understand!

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Hello All! Apologizes for disappearing for months. Things have been slow around that farm this winter. And our summer harvest was kind of a flop because the deer demolished nearly all of our crops. We also lost 14 chickens in October to what we assume was a coyote, or two. Which leads me to the reason for my post, which is rather urgent in nature, especially for those of my readers whom live in Solon, Ohio.

I just caught wind of this article tonight:

http://www.cleveland.com/solon/index.ssf/2014/01/solon_planning_commission_deba.html

Essentially, Solon planning commission wants to make a bunch of changes to current zoning laws, to go on ballot in November. They had a public forum last Tuesday, which I didn’t go to, because I didn’t know about it!! I read the full details of the proposed zoning code amendments on the city website. Here’s the bullet points that affect us most:

  • They want to limit the number of chickens or ducks permitted to each household to two. TWO! Most places won’t even sell you two chickens. You usually have to buy 6 or more, since they’re, you know, FLOCK ANIMALS!! Two chickens isn’t even enough eggs to supply our family for a week. This is totally arbitrary and unacceptable. There is a note that an “alternative” could be limiting it based on the amount of acreage the household has. That makes more sense, but still is impinging on my freedom for self-sustainability!! Are you outraged with me yet?!?!
  • No animals higher than 30 inches. Horses, cows, pigs, goats, etc. Although, and I quote “This may or may not ultimately be determined to be appropriate for the City, but reflects a growing national trend…” UM YEAH! BECAUSE WE’RE TIRED OF GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATIONS TELLING US WHAT TO EAT!! C’Mon PEOPLE!!

Also, it’s proposed that agricultural zoning of any kind be removed from the books!they really don’t want us to farm!

I find this all disturbing, considering this was presented to the city council in November, not long after the board was presented with our farm operation so we could get a variance for our high tunnels. Hmmmm, wonder who this amendment is aimed at?! We felt supported when we left the council meeting, and have had nothing but support from our friends and neighbors here in Solon. This is like a punch in the guts. Seriously.

If you live in Solon, or even if you don’t, please feel free to reach out the city council. You can find your ward representative and contact them here:

http://www.solonohio.org/index.aspx?NID=594

I’ll keep you posted on any public forums, as I become aware.

As the rest of the area, and country recognize the need for freedom of choice and self sufficiency in our food systems, and are becoming more lenient in their laws, here we are, already established farmers getting our freedoms revoked.

Please support us by contacting the council or attending meetings. It’s time the little guys stop getting trampled!

Much love,

Linde

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033Rich is working on the coop for our new girls. Big reveal soon! 031 032 034

The high tunnels are almost complete!028Our garden is looking tasty!

024We have lots of delicious greens available!

-Linde

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This weekend has been warm, dry and beautiful. Perfect for getting our warm weather crops in the ground. But, things were a little crazy around the farm, too! Read on…

When we got to work, everyone was laying down on the job.

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We even found the supervisor sleeping….again.

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Birdie was the only helpful one, feverishly collecting dandelion seeds before they spread to the garden.

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Unfortunately, Farmer Rich offended her by something he said, so she stormed off.

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Then, as I was attempting to collect eggs, I ran into a turf war! Fancy “The Boots” was not please that Greta “No Thumbs” was occupying her territory. Yikes!  I didn’t stick around to see how it ended… 014

Despite the shenanigans, we managed to get our peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes planted. We have another bed prepped for our squash and pumpkins, to be planted later this week.

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It’s shaping up to be a good season!

-Linde

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