Ruffled over roosters

Are roosters in the village worth neighbors’ ruffled feathers? Readers had some bones to peck after last week’s story.

Our story last week on neighborhood nuisances (“Loud roosters ruffle feathers”) drew some brooding responses on our website and social media.

The story centered around Karen Akins of Maple Street, who asked the Stowe Select Board to consider implementing a rooster ban in Stowe village because the rooster’s crowing is waking her up at 4 a.m. and beyond, and Jennifer Leighton, who keeps the rooster at a house on Maple Street and claims it is “not obnoxious.”

The rooster issue shone a spotlight on a larger question — does farming still have a place within Stowe village, or has the town outgrown its agricultural roots?

Some Stowe residents sided with Akins, acknowledging chickens lay eggs without roosters, and that crowing can be disruptive.

“We’ve had chickens and a rooster for 30 years, and a rooster’s crowing, especially in summer, can start very early and be very disruptive. Chickens do not need a rooster to make eggs, and a rooster really does a minimal job at keeping away predators. At most he will get killed first. There is absolutely no reason to have a rooster in the village. It is selfish and thoughtless to keep one there,” wrote Lyndall Heyer.

Sarah Percy Opel wanted more information.

“I would be curious if the rooster at night is inside of a coop and how far that coop is away from the neighbor's house. I know my roosters in my coop 20 feet from my bedroom window and I could not hear them crow,” she wrote.

“No one is looking to ban farming, for God’s sake. It’s about ensuring a quality of life for Stowe residents who live in the village where there’s not much space between neighbors,” added Brenna Galdenzi. “Not everyone enjoys an alarm clock they didn’t set at 4:30 a.m. It’s called being a good neighbor.”

“I was born in VT and our family has been in Stowe for over 50 years … I’d be pissed if I was woken up everyday at that time. It’s just straight up disrespectful. Plus, she’s just being obstinate as she doesn’t have a real need for the rooster,” said Chris Teffner.

Other commenters thought the town should stay far away from a rooster ban.

“If you are a yuppie that moved to ‘a quaint small town’ in Vermont to escape the city life, guess what: you just traded city traffic noise for farm life noise … it’s called an upgrade,” wrote Adam Baisley.

“If you don’t like livestock don’t buy a house next to livestock, plain and simple,” wrote Wendy Lathrop. “I grew up in a small farm town in Massachusetts in the late 80’s early 90’s the rich city people started moving in. They made so many complaints like this about noises and smells from livestock … that there is only one farm left now and it’s for sale and only has a few horses left. I’m glad that Stowe is not allowing the city people to destroy their small farm town like my hometown did. And city people need to stop moving to the country and trying to change it into the city they left.”

Others think the select board should stay out of the issue entirely.

Noah Derman of Waterbury writes, “We’ve got a rooster in our village. Luckily, our side neighbor likes the rooster crow but I’ve had good luck closing him in the coop every night and he doesn’t crow or you can’t hear it until I let him out in the morning around 7 or 8ish. If I don’t do that then he’s crowing at 5:45 a.m. so … maybe a solution from neighbor to neighbor is keeping the roosters locked in the coop or the barn until a decent hour if that’s possible.”

“Changing the law so a person cannot have a rooster or any other animal/pet is just going to snowball,” said Catherine Grimes Judkins.

However, “it’s still an issue and the town tabling it and saying ‘figure it out’ really isn’t helpful either,” Teffner said.

Got your own opinion to share? Write a letter to the editor (news@stowereporter.com), or leave a comment at stowetoday.com.

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