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Poultry Farm Nuisance: Nobody Crosses the Road

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Parrotsville, TN"I will never get used to this," says Maureen Holmes. "I'm surrounded by chicken houses and my kids can't even play outside." For Maureen and her family, these chicken houses are more than a poultry farm nuisance; they have interfered with their quality of life.

Fifteen years ago, Maureen Holmes (not her real name) moved back to her "roots" and built a home on the family farm. For the first five years, she was exactly where she wanted to be—then her neighbor started grading his property and the road in preparation for two chicken houses.

Poultry Farm hens"Nobody asked, nobody informed us," says Maureen. "In fact we got different stories as to what was actually being built there." The chicken houses were constructed before Maureen and her neighbors knew what they were. (Some of these structures are as big as a football field and can hold about 25,000 birds each.)

"I went out to work one morning and there were four or five buzzards perched on my neighbor's truck," says Maureen. "When the chicken houses are cleaned out, there are usually some dead ones. They must have some way of disposing of them but I think they were just leaving them on the ground—that would explain the buzzards."

Maureen called the county health department and Koch Foods (a large company that installs "state-of-the-art" poultry operations and provides the chickens.) "The county said we are in a farming community and there's nothing we can do," she says, "and Koch didn't say a whole lot." Not even after they were informed that buzzards were flying around, going after the dead chickens.

"I spoke with a lawyer and he told me that a [lawsuit] is possible if it interferes with our quality of life," says Maureen. "Depending upon when they are hauling and spreading chicken manure, we can't even stand outside and it is especially bad at night. I can't ever plan a cook-out.

"I was having a baby shower for my niece and I hadn't held any events for some time so I was really looking forward to it. I made a lot of preparations—decorations and food—and it took a lot of time. On the day of the event, I don't remember if they were hauling or spreading the manure but it was so bad that my friends got out of their cars and literally ran to my house. By the time they got inside, they were gagging and every time they opened the door, the stink would come wafting in. There was no getting away from it. No amount of air freshener will disguise it.

"My daughters, aged 12 and 10, are deeply affected. They want to play outside but on the first sunny, warm day this year they had to stay in; the dust was flying around and the air was thick. My daughter has asthma and allergies—although she didn't get asthma from this, it certainly aggravates her condition. Nobody can stand to be outside when they haul this manure, uncovered in the dump trucks, up and down the road."

It gets worse. Maureen's neighbor graded again and built two more chicken houses. Then another two. Now she is surrounded by eight chicken houses. "His brother bought some land on the other side of us but some of the neighbors got wind of it," Maureen says. "They got together and put up a sign next to his property that said 'Future home of a Firing Range' : chicken houses can't be near a lot of noise because it scares the chickens; they freak out and smother each other." That deterrent worked in that particular location, but more houses were built further down the road.

"Two years ago, my neighbor, who lived between me and the chicken houses, couldn't stand it any longer and sold his house for a fraction of what is was worth," says Maureen. "As a single mother with two kids, I was really happy and proud to have a home that was mine. But now I would like to sell it. My concern is that I can't sell for what it is worth because of all these chicken houses. It took me a long time to get a home; I have worked all my life and I still have a mortgage.

"I am a peaceable person and I don't want to cause commotion; I realize the houses that are built are done; I just want to stop more houses from being built."

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
My neighbors who have a chicken farm trespassed on our land to inform me that I eather have to lock up, get rid of, or kill my chickens ( mind you we only have 3), because of their " chicken farm". What are my rights?

Posted by

on
Is it legal for my newer neigabors..... to allow their chickens... to ~ ( encroaching )~into my yard ? they destroy ~ destory ~ my yard..dig up to expose the roots ~ of my trees...etc.. have broken tons of my solar lights.... small fence that I built to hold in tons of mulch ~ Destroy~Destroy.....

I do have beautiful pic's of my all most finished yard ~ just before they moved in.... all Left for me to do was paint the little fence.. an add solar lights.... ( hundreds of broken solar lights...)

what I could not understand...was happning to my lights ~ mulch etc.... ya see I was working night shift...11 to 7 AM...sleep in the day...( chickens out in the day While I'm sleeping ) now I have retired...AND KNOW for SURE all this damage ...has been going on is the Chickens..

they have no inclosed chicken coop.... ( And had the nerve to tell me ) not to put out bug / repelent ~ THEY eat the eggs... NOT my Problem... these eggs / chickens are not mine?!?! I have lived ih my home 30 yr's plus.... This neigabor is saing I gave them permission... ( What to destroy )

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