Egg prices in Montana have jumped drastically in recent months. What can you do to save money and still eat that favorite omelet?

The avian bird flu has hit hard. Even though it's over a year old, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture and

It has affected more than 57 million birds in both commercial and backyard flocks. This has resulted in the depopulation of over 44 million egg-laying hens, meaning fewer eggs are currently being produced.

As if Money for Missoulains wasn't tight enough as it is with the skyrocketing housing market, now buying groceries is chipping away even more at our pocketbooks. What if we stopped buying expensive eggs and just went straight to the source? Yes, I'm talking about raising chickens and harvesting eggs right in your own backyard. It's totally legal and totally awesome.

A while back I did a deep dive into the Missoula County law regarding owning farm animals and livestock in city limits, and as it turns out, It's not that complicated or difficult. Just make sure they are well taken care of and aren't a nuisance.  Here is a rundown of the rules regarding owning chickens in Missoula:

  • Max chicken allowed is 6
  • A permit is required and can be obtained a the city treasurer for a cost of $15.30
  • The chickens need to be provided with a well-ventilated, predator-safe shelter. The shelter needs to be maintained and cleaned by the owner and must have a size of two feet per chicken. The shelter can't be any closer than 20 feet to any residential structure.
  • The chickens have to be inside the shelter from sundown until sun up
  • During the daylight hours, the chickens need to have access to both the coop and the outdoors. They need to be in a fenced-off area outside to prevent predators and escape.
  • Chicken feed needs to be stored in a predator/rodent-safe space
  • The chickens can't be a nuisance to neighbors. This includes noxious odors, loud noises, etc. The city will respond to any complaints and could issue a fine.
  • The owner must provide adequate food and water

You've seen your neighbors all around the community with a few chickens, and I know you probably wondered if it's really worth it. With the rising egg prices, those neighbors don't seem so crazy now, do they?


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