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The Board of Health has ruled that the chicken coops are a public health hazard.

Chicken Feces Ruffling Feathers in Adams

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The coop housing 34 chickens are right near the property line.
ADAMS, Mass. — An Enterprise Street household has seven days to clean up their feces.

The Board of Health issued a nuisance order on property owned by Daniel Nye after a neighbor complained that chicken poop is running into her yard.

The Nyes are raising 34 chickens in a coop in their residential neighborhood back yard. Neighbors are saying the Nyes are merely hosing down the coop area, which is then rushing through a stone wall and onto their property.

"They're causing damage to my home," neighbor Susan Schneider said on Wednesday. "It's been nothing but horrible... I won't have people in my yard anymore."

Schneider and Kelly Murch complained about odors and say the vegetation on their land has died this last summer. The Nyes began raising a few chickens just a few years ago and they keep adding more and more, they said.

The Nyes were just recently approved a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals that included stipulations for manure removal. The Board of Health is now saying the Nyes are failing to properly remove the feces and it is causing a public health hazard.

Neighbors said their trees are dying and they are afraid to let their pets outside in case of soil contamination and falling tree limbs. One of their cats recently died and they suspect it was related to the chickens. They are not investing any more money in their property until the issue is resolved.

"I'm really afraid of the ground now," Schneider said.

The Board of Health took the first step in resolving the issue by issuing the nuisance order, which will stipulate that the Nyes must stop the poop from seeping through the wall and comply with Zoning Board's orders of manure removal within seven days.

The board is also accusing the Nyes of installing a drainage pipe into a flood chute that cuts across the back yards in the neighborhood.
They are also looking to test the soil on Schneider's property to see if there are any pesticides or other contaminates coming onto the land.

"I saw the runoff. They've got crap in their yard," board member Roy Thompson said. "The board should take action immediately on these people."

Board member Patricia Clairmont, who also visited the site, there was a "blatant disregard" for other people's property. Board members added that the Nyes had installed a drainage pipe emptying into Schneider's yard.

"They must block any seepage from their property," Chairman Richard Frost said.

The pipe goes into a flood control chute that Frost thinks may have been installed by the Army Corp of Engineers to divert flooding.

The board is also looking to draft a local bylaw to regulate backyard poultry. That law could include how far the chicken coop is from neighboring properties or dwellings. The Nyes' coop is right on the property line.

Clairmont, however, does not support any law that would allow chickens to be raised on residential property.

"I'm not in favor of any of this ... When the ZBA issued the permit, it was black and white; this is going to snowball," Clairmont said. "These people should not be putting up with what they're putting up with."

Tags: board of health,   chickens,   

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