I'm so glad I found this community - I honestly don't think there's a British one like it. I don't feel quite so alone in my AP style now so thank you
Anyway, my question is this:
How can I start up with chickens in a suburban garden without upsetting my new neighbours?
DH and I have recently moved into our first house. We've previously only lived in apartments and I was so excited to get a garden. DH promised that I could buy some chickens as soon as we got one. We live in a small village and I'd describe the area as semi-rural; however, our house is semi-detached and although the garden is a good size, it shares a fence with three neighbours: two either side next door and one at the back. One side is my parents though and I know they're looking forward to the chickens! It's the other two I'm worried about - both are elderly and have suffered previously with the people who used to live in our house. The lady who shares a wall with us was frequently blasted with rap music by the last occupiers despite the fact the poor lady's nearly 80 and they had a 1 yr old baby.... All the neighbours had problems with the amount of rubbish they created and were generally unimpressed by the state of the gardens saying 'they lowered the tone of neighbourhood', and were unsanitary etc.
We plan on being in this house for the next five years or so and don't want to start any arguments. DH and I have spent a lot of time cleaning and revamping the house and gardens so it all looks tidy and neat and have prepared an area at the back for our chickens. We've planned on getting 4 hens. I've done a lot of research and have chosen breeds that are known to be quiet and docile as well as good layers. we won't be getting a rooster and our fences around the back garden are 6 feet tall. I've chosen a coop that is raised well off the ground so rats can't burrow in and we're considering also buying a cat to further deter rodents. We're a small family as yet (me, DH and our nearly 9mo DS) and certainly wont be able to eat as fast as our girls lay so I'm planning to sweeten up the neighbours with free eggs too. Have we missed anything? Does anyone have any advice on keeping them clean, happy and avoiding the dreaded rats? Is a cat a good idea?
Hope someone can help!