Monday, April 21, 2008

Stamford: Immune to Roosters

Sadly, the joyful crowing of a rooster doesn’t translate well to the suburbs.

Today on local radio I heard that some Westport residents are at their wits’ ends because their neighbor refuses to curb his rooster. The report said that Stamford and New Canaan already have restrictions on barnyard animals. That struck me as funny but also sad. What kind of world is it where roosters can't do what they're born to do?

The news report gave no specifics about what those barnyard animal restrictions are. I’m pretty curious, but googling “barnyard animal ordinances stamford ct” produced no info. I’m content to use my imagination.

Coincidentally, I was talking about roosters at 4:45 am last Sunday morning. We were packing for our flight home from Mississippi. My husband, who has never lived outside of a major metro area in his entire life, went out to the car. He came back in, quietly arranged some clothing in a suitcase, and said, matter-of-factly, "I'll have you know, I just heard a rooster crowing... and there was more than one!" His amazement amazed me. Dude, it’s a rooster!

A rooster on vacation is annoying but tolerable. A rooster on the weekend at 7am is more annoying, but it’s a good reminder to get up and get busy. A rooster on a dark winter morning at 6am, however, is a recipe for a mysterious rooster “accident.” A rooster cock-a-doodling while you have friends over for a summer BBQ? That’s embarrassing! You don’t buy in Westport so you can feel like you’re in Kentucky coal country!

I couldn’t find info on the radio station website, but I found an article on Westport Now. Here are some lines, along with my own rooster-savvy commentary:

Residents, who were reluctant to speak on the record about their rooster-owning neighbor, said the rooster has been a problem off and on for at least four years. Did you catch that ridiculous alliteration? This is a sassy writer.

They said they confronted the rooster owner who has repeatedly rebuffed them, and got no relief after complaining to the Planning and Zoning Department... Can you even imagine what those confrontations are like? How do you rebuff people who are complaining about your rooster? What's your comeback?

...The rooster owner moved out several years ago prior to demolishing his house in October 2004 and had a new house built in its place, according to one neighbor. When the man moved back in last fall, he brought the rooster and some chicks that have since grown into hens. Hahaha, not only did the man return with his rambunctious rooster, he brought its children!!!

That would be brilliant if this were a TV show, but this is real life, so this man sounds rude, misanthropic, and out of touch with reality.

Roosters are flamboyantly bonkers, but that's their job. This weekend I saw a single, very large rooster standing regally on a porch. He might have been the type to screech at the sight of a human at 5 am... a human almost out of sight, but not out of rooster-range. You've got to love the Neighborhood Watch. Ain't nobody getting into the neighborhood without that rooster noticing.

People are the problem, not roosters.


Anonymous said...

easy for *you* to brush off crowing, clucking things when you're not living next door and don't mind getting up early! i live next to some very loud barnyard animals in fairfield--no ordinance, and i have to sleep with earplugs during the summer if i want my windows open (which i do, since i don't wish to run my AC all summer). i start and end my workday later than most people, so 6am is about two hours earlier than my alarm--not cool.

Stamford Talk said...

My article was a little tongue in cheek. I am an impatient person, and if that rooster were next door to me, I would be completely enraged. Like, hire a chicken assassin enraged.

Unknown said...

Funny, I was just thinking since the ordinance is so specific, it means I could have guinea hens, a donkey or geese on my property and no one could do anything about it. All of these are much noisier than a rooster. Of Course for a number of years there was a rooster on the west side that finally was tracked down...the story was very funny.

Stamford Talk said...

Noooooo actually I think there are rules about all of those types of animals! Something about livestock in areas that have been deemed not rural. (I only found a snippet of that on google- I need to be better about using, the awesome free database you can access with just a library card #).

Tell the rooster story! I'll google it in the meantime.

Stamford Talk said...

Well- the good news is that when you google "stamford west side rooster," my blog is the first three results. It's nice to know I am making my mark on the internet.

Stamford Talk said...

Ah, JT of Blog Stamford, touche! Your blog is 7th to come up, in a Nov 07 post about Mill River Park:

"There is even a rooster (undetermined if it is feral or simply free range) living in the strip of brush along the river between Tresser and Richmond Hill. I kid you not."

I have to giggle, Blog Stamford, because when I googled "Stamford blog," last fall, your first post came up, and you said that if another Stamford blog already existed, its search optimization sucked, because you couldn't find it. I gasped, and right away started trying to figure out what SO was... master, you have taught your student well!

I am so embarrassed that I am commenting on my own blog 3 times in a row!!! I am so chatty! This is why I have a blog.

Blog Stamford, can you give us the scoop on the West Side rooster?

Unknown said...

I thought I wrote about the ordinance being very specific
City of Stamford
Sec. 111-6. Keeping of roosters.
No person shall keep any rooster in such location that the crowing thereof shall be annoying to any person occupying premises in the vicinity. Upon complaint of any such person so annoyed, the Director of Health shall have authority to order the owner of such rooster to remove the same so that such annoyance shall cease.

So the Health Department has the final disposition of the problem and some one complained about a rooster crowing on the west side near Mill River and a new inspector (who was unfamiliar with the specifics of the code) was told to go out and find the problem. She finally located the rooster in a backyard on Stephen street.. So first she triwes to find the owner of the property and two Spanish gentlemen are looking at her strange and say they don't know about the rooster and ask her what rooster. She says the rooster in your back yard. they shrug and tell her we don't see any rooster. Well the back gate is open and out comes the rooster and she says that rooster. Of course the 2 denied knowing about the rooster , so she starts trying to catch t, falls flat on her face several times to the utter amusements of the two Spanish individuals. She has to go back and tell her boss the story and you know she was madder than a wet hen!

JT said...

I haven't seen the wild rooster in awhile now when I run past that way. The RBS construction headquaters trailer park has creeped into his alleged habitate so he may have been run off his land. Can a rooster catch a break in this town!

Anonymous said...

Just an observation... I live in Stamford (the Cove) & my across-the-street neighbor has many chickens. Have not heard/seen a rooster, but I was curious about how they could have a whole chicken coop in their back yard. Figured there were some zoning issues, but hey, they give me eggs sometimes.

Stamford Talk said...

Fresh eggs! Do they taste better than store bought?
I wonder if only parts of Stamford are chicken-free, or maybe one coop is OK?
Also, what if your neighbor had a rooster? Can you even imagine?

Unknown said...

poultry and other barnyard animals are fine...

Sec. 111-5. Confinement of poultry.
All poultry kept within the city must be penned and not allowed to run at large or onto public property or premises other than those belonging to or occupied by the party owning such poultry.

Sec. 111-3. Proximity to residences.
No person shall keep any live poultry, goats or cattle of the bovine species in any building or pen which is less than fifty (50) feet from any dwelling or apartment house in the city.

so you can have chickens in a coop 50 ft from any dwelling and have your fresh eggs. Fresh eggs do taste better!

Melina said...

Yes, Fresh eggs are fantastic! And I love my chickens...but roosters crow all the time...and I unfortunately have 2, by accident. Luckily, I am up north and don't really have neighbors right next to me...but the ones that I have, I emailed them and asked them what they thought, and they said that in the spring when they open the windows they will let me know...and I also put a dozen eggs in their mailbox, which they were thrilled about.
I am very sensitive to the fact that the boys crow early and during the day from time to time, but lately Ive been listening to their property, and what I'm used to over there, and there are geese honking, some hound howling at night, 2 other dogs barking, an owl that hoo's all night off and on.... and their morning tendency to saw wood with power tools and stuff...
I actually read on one of my chicken lists that deals with a tiny breed that I have a few of, that some breeders are trying to breed this tiny crower into a quiet urban chicken...ha! At the same time there is some vet out there trying everything to de-crow roosters, which really cant be done without high mortality.
Chicken is apparently so popular that people have them on their balconies in the city...;-)...Its not that you need a Roo...its that you get them by accident and people don't want them. Its hard to place them where they wont end up in a pot. (My best idea recently was to put him in the car, drive to the nature center, park close to the farm, and just let him go!...but no...I like him too much and really havent had complaints yet)
The thing about Roos is that they are not only sweet, when hand raised from the egg, but they are good watchdogs, even scaring the hell out of my dogs, and strutting away with a beak full of fur, so the dogs wont go outside!
My big problem now? This flock (which is going to grow because I have an order of baby hens coming first wk of May)is free-ranging across the street...and as much as they just walk around and eat bugs, it causes people to jump from their cars and try to save them. They are really fine, and Im not on a busy street...but I'd like less drama...
They always come back or come when I call them and throw them some cracked corn, and they actually have a path that they follow through out the day that sort of strays to the road edge and a little stream down there...but it causes too much dog upset to have people running to the house all worried...its not a busy road at all, so I'm not worried about the chickens...its a slow speed limit...and I am in the country part of Stamford....
Oh well...
I love birds...parrots, chickens...and pretty much all animals. My new thing is poison dart frogs.

The Rooster Ranch
(another Stamford blogger, but I do liberal politics at and

Unknown said...

I love it! my friends on long ridge rd (below the merrit) used to raise all kinds of animals cause they just didn't have any residential neighbors. The small rhode Island roosters sound like they are being strangled when they crow, but its not load. They moved doen to VA where they have a farm that I get to visit now and then.

Anonymous said...

New Haven went through a chicken battle last year--in the end the resident was allowed to keep chickens, but no rooster:

Anonymous said...

New Haven went through a chicken battle last year--in the end the resident was allowed to keep chickens, but no rooster:

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog - I love it! I live in Stamford and have dreamed of having chickens for the eggs. I called animal control and they said that they are fine as long as they are not within 50 feet of another home. However, since I live off of High Ridge and don't have a very big yard, my dream will wait until I get a bigger place. I am curious as to how other people are raising chickens here in Stamford. When I tell people I want to have a chicken coop, I get a lot of strange looks. Some day!

Unknown said...

if you have good relations with your neighbors and they don't complain you might get your wish where you are. That is the key - to be nice to your neighbors. All things in thecity aredone by complaint primarily.

Anonymous said...

I had a rooster issue in Portland, CT. The problem was we moved to the area b/c it was residential, not rural farmland. Our houses are close to one another and there is not enough land for farm animals. Our neighbor was asked to remove the noise nuisance but refused and I had to bring a complaint to the town. Eventually, the ordinance was changed and the poor man had to pay court fees.