Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Magic City Hens

Billings’ own nonprofit 501(c)3 for the education and support regarding urban hens in the Billings, Montana area is announcing upcoming classes in CHICKENS 101:

4/14/12 from 10AM-12noon at Harvest Church Lockwood

4/28/12 from 10AM – 12noon at Harvest Church Lockwood

Classes are 2 hours each, handouts are provided, and they cover the basics of what you need to know to have a safe, healthy backyard micro-flock. Breed selection for our climate, winter and summer care, health and diet, eggs-pectations, and more. Fun and informative! $15/person or $20/family.

RSVP or query for more information!

COOP GLEANINGS! Magic City Hens is also asking for your Spring cleaning coop gleanings (aka chicken poo, bedding, etc)… if you don’t compost and you’re not already being contacted by people who do and want your chicken poo, give them a holler. Composting of this “black gold” is being held at a local community garden on the west end, and downtown at Salvation Army’s compost area. If you are a gardener and want to be added to the list of locations for donation (of raw compost materials, please note that these will not be completely composted yet), likewise email!


Facebook Pages

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page: Billings Backyard Hen Initiative at

and our sister site, the non-profit 501(c)3 Magic City Hens at


Like us on Facebook!

Billings Backyard Hen Initiative and Magic City Hens are both on facebook! “Like” our pages for the fastest updates and information!

Facebook logo

Call for Coop Gleanings – Magic City Hens

Magic City Hens news: (

A new “Bokashi” composting bin is being set up this Fall, located at the community garden grounds of St Andrew Presbyterian Church in west Billings… we are sending out a call for “coop gleanings” aka poultry poo, chicken droppings, etc. With our urban hen coops, these droppings are often mixed with bedding (pine shavings, straw, shredded newspaper, what-have-you) and are as such valuable additions to compost piles… so they are nicely referred to, therefore, as “coop gleanings”. The gleanings from a maximum of 6 hens are very minimal (less than a 40# dog on a given day, for example) so we need quite a few hen-keepers help in generating enough volume to set the bin up properly.

Composted poultry fertilizer is one of the most valuable compost products available: ScienceDaily (June 23, 2010) — “Chicken litter is much more valuable as a fertilizer than previously thought, according to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) study showing its newfound advantages over conventional fertilizers.” Chicken manure provides more nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium than equine or bovine varieties.

The compost will be used to feed urban community gardens in the Billings area – so this is truly a win-win for everyone!

Bokashi composting is a relative newcomer on the compost scene, and should result in outstanding compost within a matter of weeks or months instead of the years it can take traditional compost methods. This bin we are setting up will be the first attempt locally to integrate new methods with old-style fertilizer. Bokashi composting works despite winter weather, which has a true advantage over standard methods.

 All Seasons Bokashi Compost Starter

We can provide a few 5-gallon buckets in case anyone is interested in donating their urban hen’s leavings. Please contact TJ at for more information on participating. (“>


Hey folks – we need to find a home pronto (TODAY – Wednesday August 10) for a dozen young Japanese Bantam roosters.

These are near showBlack Japanese Bantam Rooster-quality roosters and this Spring’s hatch. The owner understands that a no-kill sanctuary might not be possible.

If you have the space, consider raising these guys for their saddle feathers!! They are hot items lately for both fly fishermen and hair extension fashions.

Please contact me at ASAP if you are interested. Thanks!! (“>

Urban Hen-Keeping Books at Barnes & Noble

Our Billings Barnes & Noble store on 24th Street (west end) recently remarked on an increase in urban hen-keeping books within the past entire YEAR (not just since this initiative started in April). They have added to their inventory in response. It’s a great sign when not only do people start to educate themselves about an issue, their local bookstore(s) respond to that trend! Proving to me that Billings residents CAN and WILL be responsible hen owners, and that Billings business will benefit from this issue.  Big Thanks to member Catherine for pulling this list together and talking with B&N staff! ~TJ (“>

Some of the books on keeping chickens I found at Barnes & Noble: You can read the reviews and overview of each on the B&N website.  Cat

 IN STORE-and in stock

Chickens in your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide by Rick & Gail Luttmann (In store/In stock) Product #9780878571253 $14.95

Living with Chickens: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Backyard Flock by Jay Rossier (In store/In stock)  Product #9781592280131 $16.95

Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More by Abigail Gehring (In store/In stock) Product #9781602397477 $24.95

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space by Gail Damerow (In stock/in store) Product #9781603429696 $24.95

Raising Chickens For Dummies by Kimberly Willis (In store/In stock) Product #9780470465448 $19.99

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow (In store/In stock) Product #9781603424691 $19.95

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Jerome D. Belanger (In store/In stock) Product #9781592579860 $14.95

How to Raise Chickens: Everything You Need to Know by Christine Heinrichs (In store/In stock) Product #9780760328286 $19.95

Chick Days: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens from Hatching to Laying by Jenna Woginrich (In store/In stock) Product #9781603425841 $12.95

4-H Guide to Raising Chickens by Tara Kindschi (In store/In stock) Product #9780760336281 $18.99

Choosing and Raising Chickens by Jeremy Hobson & Celia Lewis (In store/In stock) Product #9780715333105 $19.99

Keeping Chickens by Jeremy Hobson (In store/In stock) Product #9780715336250 $19.99

Your Chickens: A Kid’s Guide to Raising and Showing by Gail Damerow (In store/In stock) Product #9780882668239 $14.95

The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit by Jennifer Megyesi (In store/In stock) Product #9781602393134 $14.95

IN STOCK – can be ordered but not currently available in the store

Backyard Poultry Naturally: A Complete Guide to Raising Chickens and Ducks Naturally by Alanna Moore (In stock) Product #9781601730046 $20.00

Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance: Reflections on Raising Chickens by Martin Gurdon (In stock) Product #9781592287703 $12.95

Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock (In stock) Product #9781600594908 $19.95

Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces by Barbara Kilarski (In stock) Product #9781580174916 $16.95

NEW: Pre-order only

The Way of the Hen: Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens by Clea Danaan (Pre-Order Now) Product #9780762773671 $16.95

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An all-natural approach to raising chickens and other fowl for home by Harvey Ussery (Pre-Order Now) Product #9781603582902 $39.95

Backyard Chickens’ Guide to Coops and Tractors: Planning, Building, and Real-Life Advice by Members of Backyard (Pre-Order Now) Product #9781440316968 $21.99

The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens: Everything You Need to Know…and Didn’t Know by Andy Schneider and Brigid McCrea (Pre-Order Now) Product #9781592537280 $19.99

Chicken Adoption Program

A few weeks ago we told you about our Rooster Relocation Program – homes for hapless roosters who are just not welcome in backyards. We are happy to report that this program is already working for Billings families, and we have “placed” roosters to date!

Another issue has arisen… what about the families who decide that backyard hens are just not working out for them? Or perhaps they ended up, somehow, with over 6 hens (as per our requested ordinance limit)? Or decided they preferred brown eggs to white, or blue-green eggs to brown?

The Magic City Hen ( Chicken Adoption Program to include any and all chickens, not just roosters. If you are interested in being an “Adoption Home” for the chickens, please email TJ at to be put on the list. Your contact information will be kept private and only given to potential donating families/persons.

It is very important that the Urban Hen issue is properly handled, responsibly and with forethought. We want to implement every reasonable method to make sure that the city of Billings is never left with a problem on their hands. Other cities do not report any problems with this issue, but planning beats reacting, any day!