Montana Hen Laws

Rising fuel prices are driving up the cost of food… concerns increase about pesticides & herbicides fed to chickens in production environments and the inhumane treatment of poultry in producer factories…  as individuals and families turn more and more to local foods and local food production, the backyard hen movement is sweeping the nation, with a reported 65% of cities nationwide allowing formerly prohibited “livestock”.

Here in Montana, one of the last “wild places” in America if not the world, old and outdated city ordinances are being changed to reflect the changing times. Chickens have, in the past several decades of increasing urbanization, been lumped in with their typical farmyard brethren as “livestock” and subsequently denied access to backyards within city limits. This even in a state with under 1 million people state-wide despite being the 4th largest in the nation. But for a creature who does not require a (crowing) rooster to make eggs, produces dramatically less waste than a similar-sized family dog, devours garden-threatening bugs, wasps, flies and other creepy-crawlies with relish, cleans up kitchen and garden scraps with delight, and has been known to not only enjoy being held by friendly family members but to even, on rare occasions, lay an egg on a lap… the rules need to change. And so they are.

Kalispell – 15 hens, no roosters

Missoula – 6 hens

Great Falls – currently under debate

Whitefish – 5 hens

Bozeman – 15 hens

Helena – allowed

Livingston – allowed

Manhattan, MT – allowed

Neighboring western states are likewise joining the Chicken Revolution and allowing limited numbers of hens. Billings… time to get your Hen on!!!

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