I wouldn't count your chickens before they hatch quite yet, but backyard chickens in Bismarck passed it's first hurdle.  Something Mayor Steve Bakken told me he didn't expect to happen.  The Planning and Zoning Commission voted in favor of allowing backyard chickens in the city of Bismarck.  Much to the chagrin of Mayor Bakken.

The measure/ordinance now moves on to the City Commission meeting on Tuesday, June 8th.  There are 5 commission members, and all it takes is a simple majority, and backyard chickens in Bismarck will become a reality.

Mayor Bakken is on the record saying, he's adamantly against chickens being allowed in the city.  He believes noise and smell will become a problem.  He told me recently, "We're not Mandan or Fargo."  He seemed to be in a "fowl" mood at the time.  If this measure were to pass, the city of Bismarck would be forced to build a tax payers "chicken coop" at the animal control facility.  It's estimated, that would cost it's citizens between $5,000 to $10,000 dollars.  The reason for the facility?  Bismarck would need a place to store animals that get loose or birds that are taken away from it's owners due to neglect.

Right now, the ordinance as it is, does not require your neighbors on all sides to "sign off" if you decided to get backyard chickens.  However, Mayor Bakken may try to require you to do so.  You will have to keep your chickens so many feet from the property line, and they can't be seen from the street.  You will be allowed to have no more than 4 hens, much like Mandan's ordinance.  No roosters.

The City Commission meeting on June 8th will be open to the public, and you will be allowed to comment.  You can also send an email to the commissioners HERE!  


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