Friday, December 19, 2008

Missoula urban chickens law: what went wrong?

Have all the "end of the world" fears come true in the year since the Missoula (Montana) city council voted to allow urban chickens within city limits? It turns out, no, not even close.

Back when the chicken ordinance was being debated (see this video for great comments on both sides from the locals), all kinds of fears surfaced about neighbor-on-neighbor conflicts and the consequences of bringing the farm into the city with chickens everywhere. Unfounded fears, that is.

Sutton Stokes breaks it all down in his great recap of Missoula in the Year of the Chicken over on the New West:

“All in all, we don’t see any huge problems with the chickens,” Missoula County Animal Control Supervisor Ed Franceschina told me this week. Franceschina’s records show a total of just 14 complaints about chickens in the last year.

Considering this record, Wilkins says he’s changed his mind. “I was worried that there would be a lot of complaints, but it seems to be going all right,” he says.

In fact, more than one chicken owner I spoke to said that having chickens had improved neighbor relations, like Julie Gilbertson-Day, who used to keep chickens at her house in the University District.

“It actually helped us get to know our neighbors better,” she says. “Families stopped to show the chickens to their kids. People knew who we were because we were the people with the chickens.”

Leigh Radlowski, another Missoula chicken owner, agrees. “Most people are really positive,” she says. “They may not want chickens wandering into their yards, but that’s fair enough. It’s what you’d expect with a dog, too.”

This positive reception mirrors our own experience with keeping urban chickens (minus the one neighbor who mistakenly reported us to the authorities) , and I'm glad to see we're not alone.

So, congratulations to the Missoula City Council on doing the right thing, and to the Missoula urban chicken farmers for taking advantage of the opportunity afforded them.

Read the full article here: Missoula in the Year of the Chicken

See the original video reportage here:

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Great post, and I loved the video. We are currently undergoing a fight in Caledonia, WI to allow backyard hens. Glad to see some success stories. www.caledoniachickens.com

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