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icydee

Neighbour making formal noise complaint.

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We are in an urban area and we free-range our 10 chickens (no cockerel) in our back garden, about 20m x 20m with 6ft fences.

Next door neighbour's house is adjacent to our back garden.

We have had chickens for about six years now, and our neighbour, let's call him Victor Meldrew, has made complaints all that time about the noise, even though we told him originally that we were going to get chickens and having periodically given them fresh eggs. At each complaint, I listened to him and either agreed to his suggestions or made suggestions myself as to how to reduce the noise.

I have done the following.

  * Boarded up one end of the enclosed run which faces his home to try to reduce the noise.
  * Added blackout board over the coop window to keep chickens in the dark at night/dusk.
  * Curfew for chickens between 10:00pm and 10:00am especially during the summer.
  * Have not replaced chickens where breed seems to be especially noisy.

The latest run-in with Victor was when he came around to the house when only my daughter (20) was in and wanting to talk to me. When he found out I was not in he was quite verbally aggressive to my daughter. When I found out I went around to his house, I was not aggressive/angry with him but explained that his behaviour was not acceptable and he should not talk to anyone in my household again except for me. He seemed to be apologetic.

He has previously stated he will make a formal complaint to the environmental department of Bracknell Forest Council. He started to do so last year (I spoke to the department myself) but did not follow through with the required log-book of the noise. He seems to have done so this time.

My question is, has anyone else had to go through a formal investigation by the local authority for noise complaints, and if so what was the outcome.

I am fairly positive that his complaint will not be upheld. The noise he is complaining about is not just the occasional  'I just laid an egg' noise that a few of them make once a day but the general clucking and other noises they make (I would estimate that this is quieter than a normal speaking voice).

As further background, Victor has complained about noise from at least three of his four neighbours. He yelled over the fence at a mutual neighbour during the day in summer because the young kids were having fun in their back yard and making noise, as kids do. He also went round in an apoplectic rage to another neighbour warning them that he would have their dogs taken away and destroyed if they did not stop them from (occasional) barking.

Any comments welcomed.

Kind Regards
Iain

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Hi Iain,

I haven't had this problem myself ( I think I worried more about the noise my chooks made than my neighbors' did :lol:)but I have read a lot recently of people going through the same.

All of the outcomes I have come across seem to be the same - no further action was taken by environmental department but they have to follow up complaints thoroughly in the first instance.

As you have said that you have already spoken with your neighbor about ways to alleviate his concerns and even come up with suggestions yourself, I would say try not to worry too much and just let him continue.

Birds do make noise and I don't suppose he has been complaining about wild birds that happen to make a noise as they are going over :think:

It sounds as if he is a lonely guy who needs to occupy his time complaining about others - each to their own I suppose!!

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Hi
Yes, you have expressed my opinions too. You should hear the sound of the magpies in the mornings!

Still, although I expect that it will come to nothing, it is still a worry while it is ongoing.

Kind Regards

Iain

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Luckily I don’t have any experience of this.

I would describe where I am as suburban - I had a cockerel crowing here for a few weeks and I was so worried about it I went round to all my neighbours and apologised and said he wouldn’t be here for long, and they all said they either hadn’t noticed or didn’t mind!

Im sure your council won’t take any action as I can’t see any way your girls would be noisy enough for them to deem them a nuisance, and I would think the fact fact that your neighbour is a serial complainer will certainly get the council on your side rather than his. 

As AmazonChicken said, keep us updated.

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You should live here, Iain.  I have lovely neighbours.   I’m in a generally built up area but it’s on the edge of a more rural area.   I never intended to have a cockerel but Phillipa started to crow!  I used to bring him in, darken the coop etc just like you with your girls in the hope no-one complained.  Phillip died after about 5 years, and that’s when the complaints started!   They complained they couldn’t hear him crowing anymore!  So I rescued Phillip 2nd.  Then we had another accident.  Milly became Willy!  So now we have a morning duet, but the neighbours like it they say as it makes them think they’re in the country.  

I doubt environmental health will uphold his complaint.   Keep us posted. 

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I'm another person who hasn't had this issue yet, thankfully. The hens will sometimes do some squawking quite early which I know the neighbours can hear, but they have said it doesn't bother them because it only lasts for a few minutes. One thing that I have looked into, though, is getting some noise reducing fence panels to segregate that part of the garden to reduce the noise even further.

There was a case here in Bristol recently where some keepers had some cockerels on their allotment in a built up area where the council ruled they couldn't be kept, however, the owners were allowed to keep the hens, so I wouldn't be too worried.

It sounds to me like 'Victor' is just a bit of a d**k that enjoys moaning for the sake of it. And if any of our neighbours ever tried it on, I'd point out that their dogs and aviaries produce far more noise than my hens do.

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I live within BFC.  When we first got chickens in 2008 I was told we could have 10 chickens and no cockerel.  Things may have changed over the past decade but they told us that we could be asked to get rid of the chickens if there was a vermin issue they made no mention of noise.  I know that they took action against someone with multiple cockerals a few years ago but they make it clear that cockerals are not allowed.  The cockerals were loud and crowed every few mins.  They could be heard from local park over the road noise 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-17183373

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I had a fun conversation again today with Victor.

He said that the noise from the chickens was 'louder than a passing jet aircraft'.

I suggested to him that to be fair, we should also compare the sound of a jet engine in my garden to the sound of a chicken about two miles away. :)

I actually spent about six hours in my garden this afternoon enjoying the warm sun and just listening to the noises around me. I found it very peaceful.

Song birds singing, including wood pigeons, magpies and even a cuckoo! 
Sound of strimmers and lawn mowers from a distance.
A low hum from passing cars on the road about 400 yards away.
The sound of passing aircraft every few minutes (we are close to Heathrow)

Children playing, a few streets away.
Occasional sound of doors closing or bin lids being closed.

The gently clucking of hens in my back garden.

There were no loud noises at all, certainly the chickens were well behaved without any instance of 'I just laid an egg!' just a couple of instances of them being a little louder than normal (lasting about 2 seconds each). 
 

 

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We've had chickens for 13 years, usually about a dozen and the neighbours are pretty supportive, bringing the children round to see them, looking after them when we go away. One house 6 doors up also got their own chickens.

A couple of years ago we had two frizzle Pekin cockerels who were let out about 8am and crowed occasionally but my room is on the back of the house and even with my windows open I never heard them. One day we got a nasty anonymous letter through the post, sent to all the neighbours about the noise and how they were threatening to take legal action blah blah.
It came from a house over the back and we got rid of the cockerels but what most annoyed me what that they didn't come round to mention or discuss it, just immediately got nasty.

I know people who have had noise monitoring equipment there for a week or two and nothing has come from it so I'm sure you'll be fine!

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We looked into the whole noise thing before getting our three little bantams and it was my understanding that cockerels are not allowed in 'built up areas' but chicken are provided that they do not produce 'undue or significant noise nuiscence' (sorry, having a hard of spelling day!). General bocking when laying is limited so shouldn't be a problem. Sounds like Victor is a serial complainer and I'm sure that the Environmental peeps at the local Council have his measure!

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Can you maybe start making some recordings of the noise at various times of day so that you can present that to the council as evidence if he goes through with it?

I know our neighbours can hear the hens periodically, but we give them eggs and they have never been a problem. In fact, on one side their granddaughter loves the hens, so she'll watch them over the fence, and occasionally I'll pick up one of the tamer hens and she'll enjoy petting them.

This guy you're dealing with just sounds like a grumpy git who complains for the sake of it.

Do any of your neighbours have aviaries or anything? There's a woman who lives 3 doors down who mentioned being able to hear them and asked if we had a rooster, to which I replied "If we had a rooster, it'd end up on a dinner plate because the noise would drive us mad! I'm surprised you can hear the hens over your aviary. I quite like the sound of your birds chirping away all the time, it makes me feel like I'm living out in the countryside." She hasn't mentioned it since.

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Methinks that he is just a moaning minnie with nowt better to do. I would just smile and not respond, that will soon deflate him.

My neighbours have never complained about mine, and I have one hen which shrieks like a seagull when she lays. We've hatched cockerels before now, and they always go off before that start to make any meaningful noise.One neighbour a couple of doors down didn't even realise that we have chooks for about 6 months!

There was an occasion when someone in the HA houses behind us had a flock of hens and a rooster - they were left to roam over everyone's gardens, and the cock was VERY loud. Eventually, in the face of complaints, the owner just let them loose :roll: my daughter and I spent an afternoon rounding them all up and they ended up on a friend's farm.

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I had a neighbour complain to environmental health about the wind blowing the smoke from my chimney in his direction. Sadly he was just a lonely guy who needed something to fill his day. 

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So six months on, and nothing has happened.

I strongly suspect that when Victor got down to it, and kept a log-book of all the 'nuisance noise', he realized that it was not as frequent, or as loud, as he remembered it.

 

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Glad to hear that nothing has happened! Still stressful for you, though so my sympathies!

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I'm glad nothing has happened with Victor Meldrew.

I sometimes worry my girls make too much of a racket but no one has complained yet.

Other every day life is far noisier.

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Posted (edited)

I live near an Army firing  range where they regularly practice all day  and there is another army base nearby that seem to practice with much larger noisier weapons  that can be heard in the distance and no-one ever complains but let off a single firework and half the town hits Facebook to complain.   Wish people would just live and let live 

Edited by ajm200

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14 hours ago, ajm200 said:

I live near an Army firing  range where they regularly practice all day  and there is another army base nearby that seem to practice with much larger noisier weapons  that can be heard in the distance and no-one ever complains but let off a single firework and half the town hits Facebook to complain.   Wish people would just live and let live 

Perhaps they have dogs who are scared of fireworks.... one of mine is; she is trained to not be bothered by gunfire (I used her when beating on shoots) but is beside herself with terror when she hears fireworks. This stems from when some youths threw a banger at her when she was a pup and nothing I can do prevents her from being terrified.

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I am at work today, but wife phoned, very upset. Victor pounded on the front door continuously until she managed to get to the door. He was irate, shouting and threatening her and waving his fist and (once again) complaining about the chicken noise.

Anyway, long-story-short, wife phone the police made a formal complaint about his behaviour (this is the second time he has done this) and we have a reference number and have been told to phone 999 if he approaches again. Talk about a possible ASBO.

Two community officers came around and spoke to my wife, and one stroke one of our chickens, then they went around and spoke to Victor.

Not sure what will come of this now, but I expect Victor will try something else...

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Funny how again he came around when you were out... sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant man. As the police have been out and spoken to your wife and met the chickens I wouldn’t give the chicken noise another thought. It sounds to me like that’s just an excuse he’s using as an outlet for some irrationally angry behaviour- I feel for you that you have to live next to him as I suspect even if you didn’t have the chickens he’d find something else to be upset about.

Good luck to your family

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1 hour ago, icydee said:

I am at work today, but wife phoned, very upset. Victor pounded on the front door continuously until she managed to get to the door. He was irate, shouting and threatening her and waving his fist and (once again) complaining about the chicken noise.

Anyway, long-story-short, wife phone the police made a formal complaint about his behaviour (this is the second time he has done this) and we have a reference number and have been told to phone 999 if he approaches again. Talk about a possible ASBO.

Two community officers came around and spoke to my wife, and one stroke one of our chickens, then they went around and spoke to Victor.

Not sure what will come of this now, but I expect Victor will try something else...

If he'd come round to my house and acted like that, he'd have been granted exactly two word from my mouth and the second one would be 'off!'.

He sounds like a bit of a bully, and I don't have time for bullies. My general experience of people like that, however, is that as soon as you stand up to them, they tend to back down. So hopefully a dressing down from a clothed officer in his own home might quell his behaviour.

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