Is It About Time For Chickens To Be Allowed In Bismarck?

Backyard Chicken Farming In Urban Areas Gains In Popularity
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In many parts of the United States, raising backyard chickens has become a popular practice for sustainable living. I live south of Lincoln, North Dakota where in my development, there are several residents who have backyard chickens, including my next-door neighbor.

Not only do they have chickens, they also have ducks. I know what you're thinking. It must be noisy and stinky.  I can honestly say, that couldn't be further from the truth. His pen is always well-kept, and it's even very decorative. I've also reaped the benefits from my neighbor's flock with the occasional gift of fresh eggs.

I also used to raise captive-reared waterfowl myself at my previous home.  Believe me, I know birds are a lot of work to raise and keep as pets. If you get the wrong person doing it, yes, you could have a very stinky and unsightly situation.  However, it's also a very rewarding hobby too.  It's no different with dog or cat owners (there are plenty of people who shouldn't be doing that either).

(SEE ALSO: Here's a GALLERY-PHOTOS and a look at my backyard ducks that I used to own.)

According to KVRR TV in Fargo, the West Fargo City Commission just voted to allow up to 6 backyard chickens with an annual permit.  They will join the city of Fargo which also allows chickens.

Bismarck's sister city of Mandan has allowed backyard chickens now for close to 5 years.

As somebody who works in Mandan, I sure haven't heard about any major issues with the new ordinance.  I'm sure there are a few bad apples (or chicken owners) out there but you sure don't hear much about them.  For the most part, I would say it's been a positive situation.

So, what would it take for Bismarck to join the ranks of other cities around the state and allow backyard chickens?

I sat down with former Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken who explained to me it's a two-step process if Bismarck residents ever hope to own backyard chickens (he's very much against it by the way).

First, you would need to petition the Planning & Zoning Commission and make your case.  The staff will vet your request and then vote on it.  If your request to add backyard chickens were to pass the Planning & Zoning Commission it would then move to the City Commission.

At this point, they would likely call a public hearing where the residents of Bismarck would give their input, before voting on a new potential ordinance themselves.

Now, if your request for backyard chickens did not pass with the Planning & Zoning Commission, you could go directly to the City Commission and ask them to overturn their decision.

Plenty of red tape to cut, but if you want fresh eggs and a taste of the country lifestyle in your backyard, this is what it will take to make it happen.

I for one am for less government (city) regulations and the freedom to take on such a venture if a resident wanted to try backyard chickens.

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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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