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Backyard Hens and Rabbits in Amherst

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The keeping of backyard animals, particularly hens, is an appropriately-scaled, practical and symbolic form of environmental, fiscal, and community sustainability.  As part of the local food movement, cities and towns across the nation are enacting "hen friendly" legislation to help residents move toward personal, neighborhood and community self-sufficiency.  This proposed change in the town bylaw will allow Amherst to join this national movement.

If there is enough support for these changes, this document will be proposed as an Article at Spring Town Meeting. 

Key Elements of the Proposal
  • A "by right" approach to a small number of animals.
  • Boundary setbacks to protect neighbor's interests
  • Site registration (similar to the simplicity of a dog license)
  • Animal care guided by published "best practices" regulations
  • Complaint initiated enforcement by the Animal Welfare Officer
If you are supportive, please sign this petition by agreeing that;

1. I am a resident of Amherst at least 18 years of age.

2. I support the proposed changes in the Amherst Zoning Bylaw and General Law linked here:
3. I encourage the Amherst Planning Board, Select Board and members of Town Meeting to support this proposal.


A citizens group in Amherst with experience raising hens and rabbits. For more information, contact John Gerber at


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