breaking news:

Proposed Chicago Ordinance

A new ordinance has been introduced to Chicago City Council to limit livestock in Chicago, including backyard chickens. This ordinance limits the amount of chickens and what type of lot they can be placed, as well as dictating where on the lot coops can be located, and requires the permission of neighbors within 500 feet. Annual licensing is required, and fees are quite hefty if parameters are not met. (Note: this is not only for chickens, but all types of defined “livestock”.)

If you are in Chicago, I highly recommend you contact your alder. Find out who that is and their contact information here.

Local urban agriculture groups put together a joint statement opposing the proposed ban. You can use some of their language when you contact your alder. I had great results contacting my first ward alderman, Daniel LaSpata, who then visited my coop. We had a productive discussion about how chickens are raised, and why we do it, as well as how it has allowed us to create a community and meet our neighbors in a way we couldn’t have without chickens. He agreed to challenge the ordinance if it was brought forward for a vote.

We raise chickens in the city because they work seamlessly with our urban garden, and help us raise healthy food for our family. In addition, it is a great science experiment and fun entertainment. We think this can be true for many families in the city. It isn’t to say that chicken-raising is without problems (just like any pet may occassionally be a nuisance.) But, community education and networking is often more effective than blanket regulation to prevent and solve potential problems.

Additional news about the proposed ordinance:
Sun Times: Give Chicago’s Backyard Chickens a Break
WTTW: Aldermen Propose Limits on Backyard Livestock in Chicago

kdelapchicken.jpg

I’m Kristen, an urban homesteader in Chicago.

In our Logan Square backyard, we raise a micro-flock of chickens. They provide eggs, garden help and lots of entertainment. See a bit of our set-up, as well as our first flock raised from day-old chicks, in this Flickr photostream.

Watch our movie debut in this documentary about urban farming made by Kaitlin McMurry, a grad student at Loyola.

Occasionally, I hold workshops or seminars or have a booth at local community events, namely at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, or at the ReBuilding Exchange DIY Fair.

Keep up to date via Instagram.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding chickens in the city - or elsewhere! - I'm always happy to help.

 


Past Events:

Visit our coop!
Saturday September 21, 2019 - 1-4pm Windy City Coop Tour
Sponsored by the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts
Map of the sites

 

 

Recommended Resources:
"City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-recyclers, and Local Food Producers" by Patricia Foreman, is the best book on the tiny flocks that city dwellers are capable of having. So many resources address larger flocks, and this book contains the nuances needed to maintain 3-4 birds.

Backyard Poultry Magazine and their online forums

"Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps" is a WWII government leaflet, originally published by Penguin, that taught the basics of chicken husbandry, disease, flock management and butchering. This no-nonsense vintage book is full of practical advice for keeping costs low and production high, leaning heavily on wartime practicality. Not for the faint of heart, it is a tremendous resource.

 

Chicago Resources:
Belmont Feed and Seed - On Belmont Ave, just west of Sacramento, the city of Chicago's only chicken feed store. Knowledgeable staff, offers day old chicks in the spring.

Angelic Organics Learning Center - offering tours of their working farms and coops, and occasional classes regarding chicken husbandry

Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts - a Google group of area poultry enthusiasts, hosting a discussion board full of helpful and practical advice. This group also hosts the annual Windy City Coop Tour and sponsors other poultry events. They also have a Facebook page

Supplies List

Once your coop is set-up, here are some recommended supplies:
- Chicken Feeder
- Chicken Waterer (summertime), and in winter we use a Little Giant with a base heater
- Bowls for grit and oyster shells
- Pan for scratch and kitchen scrap feeding
- Brush/scraper to clean the coop, we find a grill brush is a great multi-tool


Chicken Health

Here are items you might want to keep on hand for the health and wellness of your flock:
- Food grade diatomaceous earth (to kill mites and other bugs)
- Nail trimmers (and some styptic clotting powder in case necessary)
- Spray vetricyn
- Vaseline for combs and wattles when its cold


Treats

For spoiled chickens, some fun indulgences:
- Calendula flowers give dark yellow yolks
- Seeds and snack cakes
- Sprouting seeds for winter months
- Mealworms or Grubblies (extra protein is great for moulting season)
- Henny and Roo monthly subscription box

 

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