Anyone in Beloit WI have chickens? Question about the law.


8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
Hello all. I am new to the forum.

I was thinking about getting a few eggs to hatch 1. my girls would love to watch the chicks hatch, 2. they would love them as pets, and 3. We have always liked fresh eggs.

My question is about the laws in Beloit, WI It says 20 chicken in 5 acres..... First of all who has 5 acres in the city? Does that mean you have to have 5 acres before they even will let you have 1 with a max of 20? Or is it rated compared to the size of your plot. Also it says that a max of 1 animal per does that mean you have to have at least an acre? it seems to contradict itself or at best not written in the best way. Anyway here is what it says.

"6.2.8 LIVESTOCK. (Am. #3240) Livestock, as defined in Section 7.243(1) of the Code of General Ordinances, may be kept in the DH, Development Holding District, provided that all required permits are obtained. A minimum lot area of 5 acres shall be required for the keeping of any livestock. A maximum of one animal unit shall be allowed per full acre of land area of a parcel. One animal unit shall be the equivalent of: one horse or pony, steer, bull, cow, heifer or calf; or 4 swine; or 10 sheep or goats; or 20 chickens, ducks, turkeys or pheasants."

Also it says that a permit is required, does anyone know where to get these and do they cost much?

I also wanted to know the best breed for kids and egg layers but I can post that in the correct area. I want to look for myself at the different breeds before I start asking questions, but if you want to give any advice I would gladly take it. Thanks!!
What that says to me is that you have to have 5 acres to have any, and if you do you can have up to 100 chickens. or 1 cow, 10 goats and 60 chickens etc. An animal unit an acre and 20 chickens is an animal unit. I would look at pet ordinances as well, but it sounds like they are not legal for you.
That doesn't make much sense to me though because no one in the city has a lot 5 acres big. My mom has one that is almost a full acre and it was one that was more recently annexed into the city... it was township in the past.
That only applies to Development Holding Districts. That is special purpose, limited service zoning generally applied to newly annexed areas until they are developed for other purposes. Once the zoning designation changes to another use that ordinance no longer applies.
So that doesn't even apply to us? We are in the city... on the edge of the city but still in the city of Beloit. Not a big city. Maybe 30000 people. I couldn't find anything about the ordinance here for owning them then. All I could find was what I posted and what is posted on this website for local ordinances.
It doesn't apply to you unless you are in a DH district. You'd have to look at a zoning map to see what your zoning is. If you have city water and sewer and other city services, you're likely in a Residential zone.
Well I called the city this morning to try to find out if chickens were ok in the city. I was transfered about 10 times and finnaly I talked to a guy that said they were only allowed in those development zones however I didn't get any answer as to the ordinance that said you CAN'T have chickens in the city. Then unfortunatley I got disconneded as I was asking how to get that changed...and I don't really know who I was talking to. All I know was it was in zoning.

Next questions is...what do you do to change this?
I wouldn't believe the first guy who told you you can't, unless they can provide the ordinance that says that. If Mac is right, and that only applies for that type of zoning, I would first double check what you are zoned for. Then I would get a copy of all ordinances pertaining to animals and move from there.
Ok I talked to a local council member and what they said is that one of the council members went to Madison, WI where they recently started allowing backyard chickens and thought it was a good idea so he brought it up himself I guess. In the end they all voted no.... not sure what made him change his mind. Maybe just the fact that at the time there seemed to be no intrest so whats the point kinda thing. Anyway anyone in WI who can give me advice I would appreciate it. Any local contacts with experience.

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