Family told to get rid of chickens

A FAMILY have been ordered to get rid of their pet chickens because they make too much noise, even though they claim they are silent for the vast majority of the day.

Paul Steward and his partner Dani Simpson are being forced by North Hertfordshire Homes (NHH) to remove the birds and the structure at the bottom of their garden in Ermine Close, after a complaint from a neighbour.

However the family claim they cause little disturbance. Mr Steward said: “In the morning there might be one cluck when they are about to lay an egg, but that is it. They do not cluck throughout the day, and basically sit there in silence.

“They are extremely well kept and cause no problems. I think it’s petty that we have to get rid of them and the structure.”

Mr Steward, who is a Farmer, is amazed that chickens are not allowed to be kept as pets, and animals such as dogs and cats are.

“We have a dog that barks all day, is in and out of the garden and causes more noise than the chickens, but we are allowed to keep that.

“These are pets as far as I’m concerned. They educate the children, and we use them for eggs, and they don’t cause any trouble.

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“I asked North Herts Homes to come and have a look at the structure and see just how much of a problem it is, but they didn’t want to.”

Mr Steward spent four weekends putting up a wooden structure, which includes a hut and food and drink for the birds, and must now remove it before the end of this week.

Mrs Simpson said: “I have got lots of friends who keep chickens and they have no complaints or problems. I would imagine that there are plenty of families that keep them in peace without problems. The rules do not make sense.”

NHH’s tenancy conditions state that dogs, cats, and small caged animals or birds may be kept, as can amphibians and fish. Special permission is needed to keep animals or birds.

Jackie Fowler of NHH said: “North Hertfordshire Homes received a call saying that chickens were causing a noise nuisance at 3 Ermine Close.

“Ermine Close is a built up area and the properties are in close proximity to each other. Our records show that no permission to keep chickens had been sought, and we could not have agreed to a request to keep chickens due to the close proximity to neighbours.”