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Whoops! It IS Illegal. :( Discreet Chicken Keeping Tips?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

Good grief!

After several years of wanting to keep chickens but refraining because it was illegal where I lived, I JUST bought a house in a near suburb of Chicago. There was nothing in the animals section of the municipal code prohibiting poultry, so I thought I was in the clear. Guess I should have searched the entire municipal code! Apparently, the prohibition is listed in the usages section of  the zoning ordinances.

I have waited ALL this while to keep chickens, I told my daughter we could finally do it because it was legal here and, by golly, we're going to buy three barred rock chicks next week at the urban feed store (15 minutes from our house).

The city has a lot of problems with gangs, rats and rats in gangs tongue so they have better things to do than go after weird garden ladies with chickens (I hope). The neighbors are nice, so hopefully some fresh eggs and conscientious poultry practices will keep everyone happily minding their own beeswax (the beehive starts up next spring, but that's another subject!).

Well...I guess I'll be building that coop in the garage, after all. sad

The 5400 Square Foot Homestead
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The 5400 Square Foot Homestead
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post #2 of 46

Good luck !flwee

Be TRUE , Be YOURSELF , But most importantly , Be TRUE to yourself . If you can't look in the mirror everyday , and know you are a good human being , then what are you living for ?
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Be TRUE , Be YOURSELF , But most importantly , Be TRUE to yourself . If you can't look in the mirror everyday , and know you are a good human being , then what are you living for ?
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post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 

Hmmmm. Okay, now I've found this subsection, listing general nuisances prohibited:

"(9)   Locate or maintain within a residential district a stable, pigsty, chicken coop, rabbit hutch, kennel, or the raising or housing of any animal or fowl, except household pets, or a privy or vault not watertight."

The previous clause I cited referred to allowed usages of outbuildings; this clause is from the section on general nuisances. Apparently, you have to be a lawyer to figure out if you can keep chickens in this town.

Okay, so these birds are pets and I'm fine with Johnny Code Enforcement?

So confusing.

Does anyone know about the heritage farm laws? I forget what the proper term is so I can't see if those sorts of exemptions apply in Illinois.

(Edited for Clarity)


Edited by Yanna - 6/27/08 at 11:56pm
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post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanna 

Hmmmm. Okay, now I've found this subsection:

"(9)   Locate or maintain within a residential district a stable, pigsty, chicken coop, rabbit hutch, kennel, or the raising or housing of any animal or fowl, except household pets, or a privy or vault not watertight."

The previous clause I cited referred to allowed usages of outbuildings; this clause is from the section on general nuisances. Apparently, you have to be a lawyer to figure out if you can keep chickens in this town.

Okay, so these birds are pets and I'm fine with Johnny Code Enforcement?

So confusing.



Does anyone know about the heritage farm laws? I forget what the proper term so I can't see if those sorts of exemptions apply in Illinois.


Is this under a section of uses not permited ? If not than you should be fine . You can also contact your local Land office to see what you own and what restrictions you have .idunno
Edited because I should read the post entirely .

You might have a hard time fighting this . In Montana (where I'm living ) They are fighting it off in the suburbs . All you can do is try to get as much info as you can .


Edited by unionwirewoman - 6/27/08 at 11:49pm
Be TRUE , Be YOURSELF , But most importantly , Be TRUE to yourself . If you can't look in the mirror everyday , and know you are a good human being , then what are you living for ?
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Be TRUE , Be YOURSELF , But most importantly , Be TRUE to yourself . If you can't look in the mirror everyday , and know you are a good human being , then what are you living for ?
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post #5 of 46

Just call as a concerned citizen.  Don't let them know where you live or you could become 'watched'.  I'd find out before your daughter gets too attached  - it'll be harder to deal with two years down the road if someone cites you for it!

Suburban Homesteader:  2 RIR, 2 Black Stars, 1 White Rock, 1 EE, 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Buff Orpingtons and 1 Welsummer chickie!
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Suburban Homesteader:  2 RIR, 2 Black Stars, 1 White Rock, 1 EE, 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Buff Orpingtons and 1 Welsummer chickie!
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post #6 of 46

Household pets would not be those in a chicken coop.  Like you said, they would have to be kept in the garage.

I would just break the law, though.  I wouldn't tell a soul.  Unless your neighbors ask, I'd just go about my business.  I think laws like that are absolutely intrusive.  There is no reason why you can't have a few hens (and what's with not allowing rabbits in a hutch?  :mad: ) like there is no other thing to worry about in neighborhoods..... So yeah, I would break the law.  It is civil disobedience, you know?  There is precedence in America to break unjust laws.  Not being able to have 3 hens fits in that category, imho.

post #7 of 46

It would seem to me that if you've got the chickens running loose in the yard and housed in the garage or other shed attached to the house, you'd be fine as long as you're not selling the eggs, raising them for meat and/or profit...of course I could be wrong...hmm

LOVE my...2 sons, 1 daughter,  4 dogs, 3 cats, fish, our hens: bantam Uma, Production Red Velma, White Leghorn Daphne...RIP our RSLs: Sienna 05-20-08 to 10-20-11,  Tallulah 05-20-08 to 09-21-11 & our pet Cornish X Chick-Chick 04-2008 to 06-2009

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LOVE my...2 sons, 1 daughter,  4 dogs, 3 cats, fish, our hens: bantam Uma, Production Red Velma, White Leghorn Daphne...RIP our RSLs: Sienna 05-20-08 to 10-20-11,  Tallulah 05-20-08 to 09-21-11 & our pet Cornish X Chick-Chick 04-2008 to 06-2009

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post #8 of 46

I don't even know if chickens are legal where we live or not.

Our lot is only 4/10ths of an acre.

Our first coop was built under our deck, and surrounded by grape vines and blueberry bushes. You can make it out behind Ridin' Shootin' Rootin' Tootin' Private Root Beer. We've had people spend hours in our front yard just a few feet away from it and not realize that it's there.

The hedge on one side of our yard is Wineberries. The border on the other side is kind of an overgrown hodge-podge of elderberries, forsythia, bamboo, lilacs and trees. Only a small portion of our lot is grass, the rest is planted in fruit trees and wildflowers that we only mow once a year. Even when we let our chickens out to free-range, they tend to keep themselves pretty well hidden. Sometimes I have a hard time finding them myself.

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c116/Oblio13/IMG_0144.jpg

Strong like moose, smart like tractor.


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Strong like moose, smart like tractor.


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post #9 of 46

Oblio, love the setup, and I dont know who is cuter, the chook or the kid. 

Yanna, I feel for you.  Many of us are "illegal" - if not for keeping chooks then for keeping MORE chooks. 

  I agree with most of the advice given, esp dangerous chicken (I always love everything you say, dangerous): just keep em without asking anyone's permission.  Most of our neighbors have hardly noticed.  When they do, we are forthright about it, don't even mention laws, and immeditately offer eggs.  Seems to work for us.  So far. 

If I had to fight this thing with the town, I would, but I'd rather fly under radar for now.  If nothing else, by the time they bother me, I'll be able to point out that no one minded for years and that about fifty people in this town have happily eaten these eggs.

Congrats on your new home!

love, chickiebaby
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love, chickiebaby
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post #10 of 46

Don't get roosters.  Bribe the neighbors with eggs.  Keep your coop clean regularly.  Lock up food so it doesn't attract any vermin.

You should be fine unless you have a chicken hating neighbor.

Arlee453 is Susan, mom to  (in no particular order...) 4 humans, a big-ole bunch of chickens, chicks, etc, 7 dogs, 3 cats, parakeets, peafowl, a few ducks and 1 neglected husband...
Visit my blog/webcam webpage:
Chick-N-Cam:  http://arlee453.camstreams.com/
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Arlee453 is Susan, mom to  (in no particular order...) 4 humans, a big-ole bunch of chickens, chicks, etc, 7 dogs, 3 cats, parakeets, peafowl, a few ducks and 1 neglected husband...
Visit my blog/webcam webpage:
Chick-N-Cam:  http://arlee453.camstreams.com/
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