Good thing we didn’t get those chickens

I’ve made it no secret that I want chickens. A bevy of Bantams. Little fluffy fancy egg layers that would make me feel, in some teensy way, a bit more connected to my food production. Our house is in a rural enough area, and our yard large enough, that a couple hens running around would be no big deal. But my husband said no, and out of respect for all the other times he also said no but I went ahead and did it- whatever it was- anyway, I respected him, this time.

But then we sold our house, and in a short three weeks we’ll be out on the street, waiting for something in Crazy Town or Ticky Tacky Town to pop up and sweep me off my feet. It’s a rotten time to buy. Nothing’s for sale right now. So in the meantime, we’re apartment hunting.

I haven’t lived in an apartment since my first year of vet school. There’s nothing wrong with it, but boy, you forget when you’ve been in a house for a while how much garbage you’ve managed to accumulate. And it’s not just me accumulating stuff anymore. The last time I lived in an apartment, I had a roommate, a self sufficient classmate. Now I have two kids, two dogs, a cat, a fish, and a spouse. This is going to be rough.

I’ve never given it much thought, really.  I’ve never had to rent a house while owning pets, and had at most two dogs and two cats. Not a big deal for a homeowner, but a really big deal for an apartment renter.

“Two dogs?” asked the manager of the place we were looking at. “How big?” And then, “Are they pit bulls, American staffordshire terriers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, or chow chows?” And the answer to that is no, but one of them has a terrible, awful habit of howling when she’s left alone in a way that made her previous owners return her to rescue. Again, not a big deal for a homeowner who keeps her inside, but a really big deal for an apartment renter. I know I would rather live next to a quiet pittie than a howling Koa as a renter. This is going to be a challenge.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what we’re going to do. We’ll figure it out, because we have no choice, but I’m finding myself suddenly piles and heaps more sympathetic to people in a worse situation, with dogs they love on some random BSL ban list, or in possession of more animals than zoning allows and having to make an agonizing decision. I also find myself strangely mourning the Chickens That Never Were And Are Never To Be. No chickens allowed in Crazy Town. I guess I will have to live vicariously through all of you that have them.

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Musings Tagged: , ,
  • I completely sympathize with your situation. I’m a renter and I’m lucky enough to rent a small house with a decent sized yard. About three weeks after moving in, I got a dog. However, when I went to look for one at the SPCA, I had to keep in mind that my fiancé and I wouldn’t always be in this ideal renting situation. So instead of going with a big boisterous lab, we picked out a small, low energy (in case we ever lost access to our backyard) dog that had no history of separation anxiety.

    Perhaps you could find a house to rent? I have no idea what the rental market is like where you are but that could be an option.

    • I think finding a month to month house rental would be tremendously hard, but it’s certainly worth a shot!

  • Meighen

    That listing seems to dislike writers and not pet owners as it says ‘no poets’! I hope you find suitable living arrangements soon. I have a large dog and two cats and it’s not easy to find a place to rent without paying over $100/mo in ‘pet rent’ for them. My pets don’t muss anything and are rather well-behaved, but that doesn’t change the security deposit and pet rent requirements. I also continue to be angered by the breed-specific banning of animals. My lab/shepherd mutt could be just as dangerous as any pit bull out there and every pit bull I’ve ever met has been kind, loving, and sweet as can be.

    • I loved the no poet listing. That cracked me up.

  • Elliott

    I Love chickens and grew up with a variety of cute little bantams and full sized egg-layers. Our favorites were always Silkies, which make amazing pets. I live in an apartment in Italy now and am still trying to convince my wife to allow me to get a couple of Silkies to roam our little balcony…

    • Awww, how cool would that be? Little apartment chickens!

  • When house hunting, whether renting or buying, use the non-standard methods. Craigs list, Zillow, and local websites and papers. That’s how we found the house we are buying. It wasn’t listed on the regular realtor websites.

    • darchole

      it seems if you need to rent, you may be able to find a house rental-by-owner (instead of a rental company) that fits your situation better than an apartment. Also if you’re in an area with a lot of students, you might find something looking at college/university newspapers or websites or going though a rental agency that caters to college students, since they’re used to short-term renters.

      • Hmmm. We are a college town.

    • I didn’t even think of Craigslist. That’s an idea.

  • kamnel

    Oh, I feel your pain. You forget about rules, non-redundable security deposits and leases. I searched high and low and the shortest lease I could find was 9 months and a $250 non refundable pet deposit (for something short-term, it felt like throwing money away). That was only mentioning the 2 dogs (4 pets probably would’ve caused conniptions). Good luck!

    • We are stuck with 7 month minimum.

  • I had the chance to move multiple times this summer, but ended that fantasy with one simple fact, I have a family. Family as in hubby, pets, and no place to go unless I found a month-to-month rental that would allow more than one pet. There are apartments that allow two pets, but most, including houses, only allow two. That makes it difficult for me as for right now, I live in a county (and city) that allows for 2 cats, 2 dogs (depending on size of land), chickens (even in the city) and a few other animals. I forget the exact limitations as I don’t plan on going over, but many rentals, do not care. They want a clean, easy-to-rent home. I don’t blame them, but it makes selling or moving, hard.

    • It sure does! Renting stinks.

  • Susan P.

    Oh Dr. V – I feel your pain. We lost our dream ranch six years ago when my husband became unemployed. We had SO many animals at the time because I thought I was going to be at this ranch forever.
    We had 6 horses, 4 bunnies, 24 meat chickens, 15 layers, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 1 Amazon parrot, 1 Rosella and 6 cockatiels. The kids were in 4-H so that’s where all the animals were coming from and the cockatiels were breeders that were living out their last few years not breeding.
    I tried for three months trying to find us a home – no one wanted to rent to us because we had no rental history since we had OWNED the home. SO many people told us to ‘just get rid of the dogs, cats, etc. We looked at it as ‘not going to happen’ since these animals were all the kids have left and it was bad enough leaving the ranch.
    We were able to find a home but when the owner didn’t pay the bank with our rent monies, we were forced to move again. We totally lucked out by getting a rental agency to rent to us by signing a 6 month lease (which was fine by me because I really didn’t want to move again and I knew I was covered by the rental agency if anything was getting hinky). We have been here for two years, going on three and couldn’t be happier. I’ve become the ‘chicken expert’ to our neighbors, and even to the people who own the home since they LOVE chickens. Thank God! LOL
    We have trimmed the animal hoarding down to three dogs, three cats, 1 Macaw, and 20 chickens (who are growing old and moving on).
    I hope you can find a nice HOME/HOUSE to be comfortable in and where you can not worry about the fur kids….it’s doesn’t look like an apartment is going to work and I think you will be under so much stress worrying about what the neighbors think, it probably would be best to not even go there. Know what I mean? LOL
    We were able to board the three remaining horses and even took over a stall for two months for the chickens to hang until we could get their coops settled – and it all worked out with very little stress and we were able to keep our kids and animals happy.
    I hope something in this note can help or comfort.
    Keep the Faith and vent often!

    • Thanks Sue, for all of that. It’s a good reminder that at the end of the day, things work out. 🙂

  • JaneK

    “Keep the faith and vent often”; I like that, Sue!!!
    Dr. V… hang in there; it is amazing how our not so pleasant life experiences can open our eyes to be more sympathetic and understanding to those whom we may have “judged” before. (I work with kids then finally had one of my own…. ’nuff said) but it is a sign of good character for someone to gain that sympathy in their own trials…
    PS: our Charlie Brown books finally came and my child is loving them!!!

    • Oh yaay! Aren’t those books the best?

  • Green Eggs and Hamlet

    I live in Denver, where BSL is unfortunately alive and well. We own a Boston Terrier so didn’t run into those restrictions but I feel so deeply for those who do.

    What about renting a house instead of an apartment, is that in the cards at all? Good luck!

    p.s. could you please ignore your husband not wanting another dog and go ahead and get a Boston? Hamlet and I are itching to see one interact with Koa, Brody, and Apollo.

  • Natalie Lester

    Dr. V, I can totally sympathize with you! Even though I’m minus the husband and two kids, I still seem to accumulate a TON of stuff and agree with others that the BSL rules and ridiculous pet fees at complexes are more than annoying. If you want to try one of our bark control solutions for your howler, let me know! I’d be more than happy to send you one. Hope you find a place and are settled in soon!