Another Letter to the Council

March 23, 2012

To the city council,

It has come to my attention that Billings has a problem with citizens keeping chickens in their backyards. I believe that keeping chickens is a right that should granted to Billings citizens. In the USA over 150 major cities have allowed chickens without any problems.  The same is true in 8 of the major Montana cities. So what is the problem?

One complaint against chickens is that they create a big smelly mess. On the contrary, people are not going to have 20 chickens in their backyard. At a maximum, they will have six chickens. Chicken excrement is not nearly as foul as dog and cat excrement. As a matter of fact, chicken poop can be quite beneficial to citizens’ gardens. Chicken poop is compostable, unlike dog and cat poop.

Additionally, another complaint might be that egg sales in our city might decrease if citizens keep backyard hens. I think the citizens in Billings should be allowed to keep hens privately and provide a food source for their own families if they choose to do so in a responsible manner.

Another reason that some might not want chickens in town is due to misinformation regarding how much noise they make.  Chickens are not noisy at all, especially since the proposed ordinance allows for no roosters and just 6 hens.  Hens are very quiet almost all the time. When they do squawk, the sound is not nearly as loud as a dog barking. Should we ban dogs from the city, too?

Some people say it’s too dangerous to keep chickens because their heat lamp might catch on fire and burn their shed to the ground. Actually, chickens don’t need a heat lamp. They are birds. They have gotten along just fine for centuries without heat lamps. They are covered with feathers. When it’s cold, they poof up their feathers and keep themselves warm.

When the government doesn’t heed the wishes of its people and makes decisions based on the personal opinions of a few councilmen, everyone loses. The majority of people in Billings want to have chickens or want their neighbors to be allowed keep chickens as long they are kept according to the rules set out by the proposed hen ordinance. I would encourage you to consider placing the proposed hen ordinance before the city council so that our elected officials can vote the will of the people which is the way our democracy is supposed to work.


Evan Ulrichs, age 14


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Cynthia on March 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Just got home from my first council meeting. Wow! We had a good presence and some very articulate supporters. I am looking forward to some good media coverage. I will be at the next meeting!


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