Ducks and quail approved as city-kept fowl

By Martin Kidston

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, chances are you can now raise it in the city of Missoula.

And quail too.

The Missoula City Council on Monday night voted 8-1 to change a city rule governing the keeping of livestock and domesticated fowl by adding female ducks and quail to the types of birds one can raise on lots smaller than one acre within the city.

In doing so, council members raised the proposed fee for keeping fowl from an annual $15 to $30 every three years, saying the increase was needed for administrative purposes.

“This go-round is much less exciting than the original chicken ordinance,” said Ward 6 council member Marilyn Marler, noting Monday night’s anticlimactic hearing.

No members of the public spoke on the issue.

Under current city regulations, residents are allowed to keep up to six hens in backyard pens. The new ordinance allows up to six chickens or ducks, or 10 quail.

Ward 6 council member Michelle Cares, who sponsored the ordinance, said it takes five quail eggs to equal the size of one chicken egg – hence the greater number of quail. The proposal forbids male birds of any species, and quail are restricted to a single species.

“No male fowl allowed, for breeding reasons primarily,” said Cares. “This allows only one type of quail. We found out there are two species, California and Gambles quail, not allowed by state law. They’re on the exotic list. Bobwhite quail are not on that list.”

Ward 4 council member John Wilkins cast the only vote in opposition to the ordinance.

“If I wanted to live next to a farm, I would have bought property next to a farm, and I didn’t want to live next to a farm, because I grew up next to a farm, and I hate farms as far as living next door to them,” said Wilkins. “They’re a lot of work and they’re a lot of smells, and I think chickens smell. Ducks will too.”


Contact reporter Martin Kidston at info@missoulacurrent.com