Chicken Flap.
February 16, 2008 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Last summer, the Missoula MT city council deadlocked on the question of whether city folk should be allowed to keep "urban chickens". (Missoula, pop. 57,000 is what passes for urban in Big Sky Country.) Reporter Ann Medley made a wonderful video essay on the issue for New West.

The final decision, handed down in December, was a win for the pro-chicken crowd, which garnered support from cities as large as Brooklyn. It's not a fad, it's a movement. Join the fun.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Fowl play by city council
posted by growabrain at 10:32 AM on February 16, 2008

This is a revolution. Clearly, a chicken coup.
posted by SPrintF at 10:44 AM on February 16, 2008 [4 favorites]

How would I know that the first two comments would just be ignorant clucking about. This thread is going eggzactly how I eggspected.
posted by absalom at 10:51 AM on February 16, 2008

I grew up in Missoula and moved away in 1987. I obviously missed the chicken hullabaloo, though I'm not surprised that this became a contentious local issue.

Near the end of my time there, the great divisive social issue was the Peace Sign Debate.

In the 1980's there was no World Wide Web (as we know it today) through which to propagate one's social grievances, but that has not stopped a retrospective rant.

Using the Internet, individuals too, can join in to lament of the loss of the great Missoula Microwave Reflector.

Social activism is strong in Missoula, and results in Great Debates about things like microwave reflectors and backyard chickens.

I have mixed feelings about Missoula, but I can honestly say that part of the reason that I left was that I was BORED OUT OF MY FUCKING MIND...
posted by Tube at 11:06 AM on February 16, 2008

Strange that Missoula would try to ban them when they're legal in Seattle.

Are the council members' careers broiled or fried? Either way, I'm sure the voters are stewed.
posted by dw at 11:08 AM on February 16, 2008

I've been waging the pro-chicken battle in New Brunswick, NJ. Three years ago I made the mistake of going in to talk with the city planner about my plans to put a small chicken ark in our backyard. He was amenable to the idea, being somewhat pro-green, but sent me to talk with the city health department to get the health officer's blessing. She told me "you get chickens and I'll make sure there's a law to prohibit them." And, sure enough, the town put laws on the books to prohibit the birds.
posted by tidecat at 11:45 AM on February 16, 2008

Of course they need some chickens, they've all got the munchies.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:56 AM on February 16, 2008

Nuggety bastards. They should be tarred and feathered.
posted by MidAtlantic at 12:01 PM on February 16, 2008

And not one 'cock' joke? Mefi is letting me down. On a side note, it's fun living in a suburb just outside of city limits. Make all the laws you want, city council, you ain't got nuthin' on my cock. rawr
posted by ZaneJ. at 12:05 PM on February 16, 2008

I might add that before we had a chicken flap *snort* we also banned nukes.
First city in the U.S. to do so, if I recall correctly those hazy days of the late 70s.
posted by bigskyguy at 12:12 PM on February 16, 2008

That video is the greatest thing ever.
posted by LarryC at 12:31 PM on February 16, 2008

Other people have left Missoula, too. Oh, and the video is also here for the Quicktime averse.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:33 PM on February 16, 2008

Chickens are some of the most whimsical creatures in the world. Montana is the most awesome place in the world. Chickens + Montana = YES!
posted by davidmsc at 12:37 PM on February 16, 2008

I've seen chickens on occasion in the Kensington section of North Philly. They just sort of strut around pecking at gravel pieces and bits of broken glass.
posted by The Straightener at 12:44 PM on February 16, 2008

A chicken farmer once told me that there is nothing dumber than a chicken except a chicken farmer. What does this say about the effectiveness of the University of Montana?
posted by Cranberry at 12:47 PM on February 16, 2008

Cranberry, when I lived out there, one of my friends told me that people referred to it as "um". As in the sound. Still, he ended up at grad school there, and he's not slouch. Then again, he's no chicken farmer, either.
posted by MidAtlantic at 1:06 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Chickens + Montana = YES!

Chickens + Montana makes me think of Wulfgar!
posted by homunculus at 2:29 PM on February 16, 2008

Heh...good point, homunculus -- I nearly forgot his "A Chicken Is Not Pillage" sub-title!
posted by davidmsc at 4:48 PM on February 16, 2008

Some friends of mine have an urban poultry cooperative in Minneapolis. They also teach classes on raising chickens in the city, and take in abandoned chickens and "rescue" chickens. Most spoiled chickens ever.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:57 PM on February 16, 2008

Missoula, I still love you.
posted by hulahulagirl at 7:35 PM on February 16, 2008

I work at a school in a densely populated (well, it was densely populated) section of New Orleans. I would even call the area "urban." Imagine my surprise when, about a month ago, I would occasionally hear a rooster crowing as I arrived in the morning. Now, I spent part of my life on a chicken farm, and I still have scars on my arms from their horrible little bloodthirsty beaks. I'm required to be at work earlier than most New Orleanians can even think about, and I figured that fatigue mixed with childhood trauma was playing tricks on me.

Sadly, my theory was disproven last week. I walked out to my car in the afternoon and there was a rooster standing in front of my car door. Waiting. I stood very, very still for a moment before saying something along the lines of "Get thee behind me, Satan!" and throwing a pen at it. It fled... this time. Fled back to its coven of she-chickens to continue plotting its takeover of my poor, vulnerable city.

Chickens do not belong in cities. The whole point of living in a city was to never be assaulted by poultry again. Righteous people of Missoula, I stand beside you in your fight against the devil birds.
posted by honeydew at 10:05 PM on February 16, 2008

One of the women interviewed in the video had one of her chickens savagely attacked by a dog.

Yeah, that brings back Missoula memories. I was attacked and/or bitten by dogs multiple times, as a pedestrian, a skateboarder, a jogger, a bicyclist, and as a hiker. I don't know that was ever attacked while cross country skiing. It sounds like Missoula is still home to some evil canines and their irresponsible masters.

Chickens, they seem OK...
posted by Tube at 10:54 PM on February 16, 2008

Chicago just had this debate recently too. I think the chickens won.
posted by hwestiii at 5:01 AM on February 17, 2008

louche mustachio, I don't think those are all chickens...
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:08 PM on February 17, 2008

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