1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Unincorporated DuPage County, Illinois

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by mountanaman, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. mountanaman

    mountanaman Out Of The Brooder

    44
    0
    22
    Feb 28, 2011
    Anyone have any direct experience with DuPage County?

    The animal ordinance does not specifically forbid or allow chickens - so we are good there (as far as i can tell). We are less than 5 acres so the "farm" argument is not valid. The zoning regs for residential areas also do not specifically mention them either way. They do say you can have up to 4 pets (arguable whether a chicken is a 'pet' or not - definition below).

    PET: A domesticated animal (which may include, but not to be limited to, a dog, cat, miniature pig, etc.), customarily kept for pleasure and which typically spends a majority of its time in a dwelling unit. The term shall not include animals which are kept for agricultural or utility purposes, (except for 4-H projects which shall be governed by the district requirements), "dangerous animals", as defined herein, and horses (which shall be governed by the district requirements). Small birds, fish and reptiles shall be deemed to be pets but shall not be counted against the total number of pets allowed on a residential lot. The director or his or her designee shall determine what specific animals, exotic or otherwise, do or do not qualify as pets.

    Not sure if that would fly. I know they had to recently add the "miniature pig" language due to disputes over pot-bellied pigs.

    Anyone have actual contact with anyone at the County, positive or negative? I will eventually call them but don't want to raise a red flag and want to have my arguments in place first.

    County Code: http://www.sterlingcodifiers.com/IL/DuPage County/index.htm
     
  2. mountanaman

    mountanaman Out Of The Brooder

    44
    0
    22
    Feb 28, 2011
    My understanding is that something has to be listed as a 'permitted use' in the zoning regs to be allowable. For example, for residential zones:

    Excerpt
    The following uses are permitted:

    Detached accessory buildings, structures and uses shall be permitted as follows:

    A detached accessory building shall include but not be limited to the following:

    Detached garage/enclosed parking space;
    Detached gazebo;
    Detached pool houses;
    Detached enclosed swimming pool/spa;
    Detached shed; attached stable;
    Detached tool shed;
    Detached building similar to those buildings listed above which is not the principal building of the property;



    A stable is defined as a structure to house horses. I am planning to argue (if necessary) that a chicken coop is similar to a shed/stable and therefore should be allowed. The only sticking point may be that horses are specifically allowed per the zoning regs (provided sufficient acreage and setbacks), while chickens are not.
     
  3. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    10,884
    20
    291
    Jul 17, 2009
    I looked at your code. It does not seem to have any real restrictions against owning poultry or fowl. However, without knowing your parcel's specific zoning, I cannot give you direction either way.

    Coops are usually considered sheds and/or temporary. There WILL be a distance requirement--you'll have to keep it X number of feet from the neighbors' houses.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    449
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    My, my. I grew up there, about 60 years ago, on about one acre. We had bunches of chickens and rabbits. The coop was a "back room" of the garage, both of which my father built out of used lumber. I suppose back then, no one cared. We had a well and septic, too, and I know the house now has county (or whoever) water and sewer. Heck, they even paved the streets.
     
  5. Elphaba2140

    Elphaba2140 Chillin' With My Peeps

    486
    2
    121
    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Illinois
    I live in DuPage County. Not unincorporated - within city limits. Certain towns here do accept keeping chickens. There are quite of few of us here. You can look up each city to see your specific laws and ordinances. They are all different.
     
  6. mountanaman

    mountanaman Out Of The Brooder

    44
    0
    22
    Feb 28, 2011
    Quote:Thanks. We are R4 residential. I also can't find any explicit restriction - but there is no explicit allowance either which, to my mind, always leaves it open to interpretation.

    Setbacks for detached buildings in backyards is 3 ft from property lines. We plan to do much more than that and even farther from neighbors houses (of course), install privacy shrubs & fencing, give away free eggs, etc etc. As long as the neighbors are cool with it, the County will never know and the whole legality thing becomes a moot point. But i like to plan for contingencies...
     
  7. Jayers

    Jayers Out Of The Brooder

    73
    1
    41
    Apr 16, 2008
    NE Illinois
    I am also in unincorporate DuPage county. My "chicken mentor" the guy I went to with all my original questions said we have to be very careful. He said the best shot was to somehow be involved with 4H. There are no specific rules on poultry. He did mention the "x number of feet from a neighbor's house (there is some reference in another part of the code). Based on what I've learned, if the county gets involved then a random person from the county will come and determine whether your chicken is a pet or not. Not good odds. I have decided to go the "don't ask, don't tell" route. I often refer to my chickens as "semi legal", and am careful about who knows about them.

    I keep an eye on this list for any news of people banding together in DuPage, but again I feel the need to be very careful, this is basically one big suburb with very little rural roots anymore. I believe most policy makers in this county would see poultry as very unsanitary.
     
  8. mountanaman

    mountanaman Out Of The Brooder

    44
    0
    22
    Feb 28, 2011
    Thanks Jayers. That is kind of what i was assuming. We will be laying low, planting privacy shrubs and getting cool with the neighbors. And if we do get "caught" at least it is not explicitily forbidden, and there is room to argue, from different angles. I'll decide how far to push the issue if/when the time comes.
     
  9. maribernj

    maribernj New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Sep 13, 2013
    It has been a while on this post, but am wondering if you have been successful with your chicken plans? we r in uninc dupage and had chickens but ran into some bullying from the county. our chickens are away at a freinds place until we figure something out.
     
  10. Jsnick

    Jsnick Out Of The Brooder

    11
    0
    22
    May 28, 2013
    Ilinois
    We are also unincorporated DuPage and we only have a 1/2 acre . We had chickens but recently had to give them to a friend due to someone calling county on another issue, not the chickens. County says I need an acre and belong to 4h to have them here We are R3 zoned. I also couldn't find anything specific on the ordinances before we had gotten the chickens. Now I really want to have them back and would love to have more people back us up. Its crazy because other towns and counties with less acreage can have chickens. Would love to get it changed somehow. I miss my little ladies.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by