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setbacks and setbacks

I finally sat down last night to read our local bylaws about raising animals and learned sadly that the number of chickens we can obtain quickly and hassle-free is limited to 4. If we want to get any more we have to go through a permitting process, which involves submitting coop plans to the health department and building inspector before the thing is built, then having it inspected once that's finished, then holding a hearing after that at which all our neighbors can come and testify why we shouldn't be allowed to keep any more animals around here because our current one is always running off onto their lawns.

A fence, though. We'll have a fence by then. That'll solve the Rascal problem at least. Fence will make everything good.*

Four chickens will make about two dozen eggs in the summer and half-to-none of that in the winter. I had hoped to get a few more in there to have some eggs to share and, er, diversify risk as it were. Also, 8 chickens seem like a flock of livestock to me whereas 4 seem like pets, and I worry that pets will tug more strongly at my heart strings when it's looking more and more like time for the stew pot.

But probably I'm just kidding myself on the last point. This whole project came about because I am so hopelessly in love with animals I've been trying sneakily for a long time to figure out how we could get more. So any animal, whether pet or livestock or wild intruder, is sorely missed when she's gone. Case in point, our third little mousy captive died this weekend before we had time to set her free. We supplied her with adequate food and water, but maybe the stress of two days in captivity did her in... either that or the MASSIVE amount of congealed bacon fat she managed to eat out of an open jar before getting trapped. Either way, I'm a little broken up about it. Poor little thing. Maybe we can just live and let mice live for a while...

Anyway, since Harvey is sleeping for a few more precious moments I'm off to try to find the bylaws for fence setbacks. I'd hate to put the thing in only to have the coop inspector come by and say, oh by the way, you need to move that whole thing back three feet. Ugh. Suburbia.

*That's adapting a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by the way. Ten billion points to you if you recognized it.

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