Well, the dog killing the chicks thing turned out to bring some bad news this way. My neighbor thinks it's my responsibility to keep my chickens penned (which I do, but the little chicks get out and then the mama hen flies over the fence) because hers is a hunting dog and killing birds is what he's supposed to do. Of course there is a law that dogs aren't supposed to run free, but that didn't phase her reasoning.
Anyway, being that she is related to the original owners of the property, she tried to tell me there is a covenant in this neighborhood and actually I'm not even supposed to have chickens or sheep. We built this house 20 years ago and there was never any mention of a covenant when we bought the land. I assured her that she was totally wrong and quoted her the township's zoning laws which state that we can have ten sheep per acre, so I could have 50 sheep here if I wanted.
Afterward, I called the township to see if they ever had a record of a covenant, of course they did not, BUT I was informed that the township is in the process of changing the zoning laws THIS FALL. They said the number of animals allowed will be decreased, but they didn't tell me any actual numbers per acre. I'd say we're well into the fall already and I deserve to know what they are thinking. I have to watch their website for further information.
That sent me into a depression thinking about who I could part with and re-examining my breeding plans. I have 30 sheep now, but three have been sold (Jake, Darcy and Grace) and I planned to reduce some ram numbers after breeding season - I may eliminate ALL my Shetland rams, so if anyone is interested in a nice ram, let me know before he becomes sausage. I'll be using Bombarde (RRAA poll carrying fawn katmoget) again and Boggart (mioget dual coat) unless he sells too. Eli is being leased out for breeding and so I think I can get down to 23 sheep fairly easily. I won't breed my ewe lambs except for the two Shetland Mules, I HAVE to see what they produce with my colored BFL ram.
But this turn of events has re-awakened the need to move out of here. Like our neighbors who live nextdoor to the dog owners, we may be putting our place on the market again.
If we could sell this place, we could build on our 40 acres or maybe just sell that too and buy an existing place on 20 acres that a friend of mine has for sale. It's only 6 miles away and it's all set up with a barn and pasture and hayfield.
In the meantime, I would think we should be grandfathered in when and if the zoning regulations change. But I can't get any straight answers about that from the township zoning administrator. Depressing! I guess I'm going to have to start attending the township meetings, arghhh.