Why noisy roosters are causing Fair Lawn to consider new rules for pets

·3 min read

FAIR LAWN — The Borough Council is considering regulating the keeping of farm animals as pets — specifically, the kind that makes a ruckus that begins at dawn.

Roosters are legal in Fair Lawn, but that is getting a second look after several residents have come forward to complain about disturbed sleep.

"We have a couple of residents who have complained about roosters, and the council is looking into what we can do to address that," said Councilwoman Gail Rottenstrich.

Among them is Max Khaskin.

A couple of months ago, Khaskin said, his next-door neighbor built a chicken coop and Khaskin even helped. But when she wound up with a rooster, the neighborly relations broke down.

"It crows almost every morning and throughout the day, and it is disturbing," Khaskin said. "I tried to reason with her, but she has said that her daughter is attached to the rooster."

A crowing rooster can create a noise reaching 130 decibels, researchers found.
A crowing rooster can create a noise reaching 130 decibels, researchers found.

Khaskin continued, "I have a daughter myself and I wouldn't want to do anything that would cause discomfort to the neighbor's child, but what I would like to see is some kind of rules put in place, to limit the noise it makes."

The small animals can create an ear-splitting noise. A team of European researchers pegged the sound of roosters crowing at 130 decibels — louder than a lawn mower, which reaches about 90 decibels. Their work was reported in Discover magazine.

"One of the things we can do is adopt an ordinance similar to the format that they have in Ridgewood," Rottenstrich said.

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Ridgewood's ordinance forbids coops within 50 feet of a neighbor's home or any place where people congregate, and within 200 feet of any food establishment. Coops must also be at least 10 feet from property lines.

And there's also this provision: "No person shall keep any crowing rooster or screaming or chattering fowl."

Carolyn Adams holds her Belgian Mille Fleur rooster while visiting her chickens at Kelly Ruehle's farm on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Eaton Rapids. Adams recently gave up five chickens she was caring for on her property after receiving a notice from the city informing her that she couldn't have them there. Adams now stores her chickens at Kelly Ruehle's farm.
Carolyn Adams holds her Belgian Mille Fleur rooster while visiting her chickens at Kelly Ruehle's farm on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Eaton Rapids. Adams recently gave up five chickens she was caring for on her property after receiving a notice from the city informing her that she couldn't have them there. Adams now stores her chickens at Kelly Ruehle's farm.

Many of the towns surrounding Fair Lawn have similar restrictions regarding roosters. Currently there is no ordinance restricting roosters or poultry in the borough, Rottenstrich said.

"I don't think we need to adopt the whole thing," she said, "just the part about … not allowing roosters, fowl that make loud noises," she said. She said that the borough previously had drafts of an ordinance intended to address the same problem.

Fair Lawn does have a general noise ordinance that prohibits unnecessary noises that are "physically annoying to persons, or which are so harsh, that it disrupts the peace of the borough or anyone in the borough."

Rottenstrich said there are at least a few borough homes that have chickens and roosters.

Many suburban towns in North Jersey permit backyard chickens, but some explicitly prohibit them. Densely populated Wallington forbids chickens, along with ducks, rabbits, and pigs. Other towns, including Millburn in Essex County, allow chickens but ban roosters.

Shaylah Brown is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: browns@northjersey.com

Twitter: @shaylah_brown

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Fair Lawn NJ: Pet rules changes could come from roosters

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