Chicken Change


a chicken change

“It’s not easy,” says the red hen with a sigh.

“What’s not?” asks the white hen, adjusting her rear end in the nesting box.

“Regime change.”

“Regime change?”

“Yes, don’t you follow the news?”

“What news?”

“What kind of a backyard chicken are you! We’ve been big news in Ipswich ever since the Chicken Lady conquered Town government in her relentless quest to gain legal status for us.”

“I know that,” says the white hen, crossing her right wing over her breast. “God bless her. We were lost in a limbo of criss-crossing committees — and the horror of $150 special Zoning Board permits — till she saved us.”

“Yes indeed,” says the red hen, flapping her wings, then settling back in to her box. “But it’s a new day.” She sighs again.

“A new day? What are you talking about? You’re scaring me.”

“We’re being moved.”

“Moved? We’re going to an acre lot?”

“No, stupid. We’re not changing locations. We’ll still be right here, on our less-than-an-acre property, where it’s only legal to have six backyard chickens.”

“Thank goodness. I like our little brood. I’m not a big chicken-farm gal. I don’t want to be out there on one of those sprawling farm lots, with thousands of chickens competing for every grain of corn. I hear outer Linebrook is like the poultry version of New York City. Awful!”

“Settle down, Margaret. We’re not moving. We’re just being moved administratively — from one department of Town government to another. The Zoning Board of Appeals won’t be in charge of us anymore.”

“Oh my. What will they do with all their free time?”

“Beats me. I can’t imagine the sense of loss. All those years, handling all those important chicken-zoning issues, and then all of a sudden — poof! Nothing. Nothing but frivolous stuff — non-conforming structures, parking and traffic noise, detrimental effects, grievances and variances. I feel badly for them losing the poultry account.”

“So who will be in charge of backyard chickens now?”



“Matt Antczak. The Ipswich Animal Control Officer.”

“Oh, Matt! I love him!”

“You know him?”

“To know him is to love him. He’s the most loving, gentle, kind-to-animals person in the world. He talks runaway dogs into going home and giving their owners another chance. He steers cows out of the road without even making them take a Breathalyzer test. He loves animals.”

“Well, he’s the backyard chicken boss now. And under the new regime, anyone with backyard chickens on less than an acre has to get a new permit. If you don’t get the permit, the Town can fine you $50. Maybe more.”

“Oh my. What will it take to get the permit?”

“Well, you can go to Town Hall and get an application — or you can go to Matt’s office: It’s on Fowlers Lane.”

“Fowlers! How cute! And you get to meet Matt!”

“He gives you an application form. You fill it out and turn it in.”


“He comes to your house, smiles at your chickens, and gives you a certificate of inspection.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“And you’re worried about regime change?”

“Well, change is hard. I’m chicken.”



One thought on “Chicken Change

  1. Matt, all kidding aside, is a polite and caring public servant! He comes once a year to check out my horses and always has nice things to say. Thanks, Matt! (Sorry, don’t have any chickens…yet!)

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