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