City Staff Proposed Hen Ordinance

We’re having difficulties converting this file to a readable format we can post here, so with our apologies… link on the URL below to read the urban hen ordinance being proposed by city staff for a one-year trial period. 

Note that you will have to open the pdf file attached to the document. It’s a 6-page document prefaced by a memo.

While this is certainly much more complex than the BBHI-proposed ordinance that works so well in many other cities, we find that many of the concessions are reasonable. We recognize that compromise works both ways. One issue that concerns us though is in regards to pre-permit inspections by Animal Control Officers.

City staff and council members have expressed repeatedly their concern that an urban hen ordinance not cause extra work to staff, from Animal Control Officers to Code Enforcement Officers. Why then would they volunteer ACO’s to take valuable time to go inspect coops and hen pens before approving permits?? This sends their estimated work load from basically none (according to the other cities polled in regards to the calls on urban hens that their staff must respond to) to, possibly, an hour per permit? It is illogical. The likelihood of there becoming a problem (with noise, odor, etc) will only be AFTER the people already have their hens, and if a permit is required in advance, they would be inspecting an empty and brand-new chicken facility. Sillier than shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped, this is the equivalent of shutting the barn door before the horse even gets there. ??!

Logic aside (which pains me to even write), the issue of “fairness” comes to mind. We pose the question: Are dog owners, cat owners, rabbit owners, ferret owners, fish owners, cockatiel owners, pet snake owners, hamster owners, or lizard owners required to have pre-permit inspections? Even for a kennel permit for owners of more than 4+ dogs or cats? We have provided information ad nauseum regarding the comparatively minor volume of (compostable) manure provided by chickens, verses the (vastly more odiferous and highly NON-compostable) manure provided by dogs and cats, so it can’t be a manure issue. My pardons for digressing into logic again…

So Billings! What do you think? Care to show up at City Council chambers tonight, Monday 4/16/12 at 5:30PM, to share your thoughts during agenda item #2 – Urban Chickens – Public Comment?? Even if you don’t wish to speak, if you are a Billings resident and are in support of the issue, you could attend and simply stand up in support of the issue with our speaker when requested.

If you can’t make the meeting, please email the city council at and let them know your viewpoint! (“> 



One response to this post.

  1. This is good progress to see, even if the inspections are a little odd. I didn’t need an inspection to adopted my cats nor even a requirement I keep them confined (even though we keep them indoors). I hope the trial run goes ahead as planned! I have a coop idea in mind and would love to keep a couple chickens (nothing crazy, just some eggs for the husband and I).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: