Two Elmhurst Committees Will Peck at Chicken Issue

Eggs-amination to Include zoning and safety questions.

Both the Development, Planning and Zoning and Public Affairs and Safety committees will take a crack at a potential change in city code that would allow residents to own chickens.

Currently, Elmhurst's Municipal Code prohibits residents from keeping a “stable, poultry yard or other place for the housing of any farm animal.”

But backyard egg production is no longer rarer than hen's teeth in the suburbs. Planning and Zoning Administrator Than Werner said city staff's preliminary research showed that most towns that allow chickens have a limit on the number of animals allowed and do not permit roosters. Slaughtering the birds, Werner emphasized, would not be allowed.

Many also regulate where a coop can be located in a yard and if permits are needed for one. Oak Park allows up to two chickens per yard and Batavia mandates the birds be in a covered, fenced enclosure.

DPZ chairman and 6th Ward Alderman Steve Morley reported that his committee will focus on the zoning questions and the PAS committee will study any safety issues related to chicken care.

Third Ward Alderman Dannee Polomsky asked Werner to find out if any local communities attempted a trial run on chicken husbandry.

Owning chickens could be a “good, wholesome activity for a family,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Dunn, who was one of the council members who asked for committee consideration of the issue.

Residents who attended the meeting agreed.

Jan Happel told the committee that rearing poultry is “rewarding” and a “great learning tool for children.”

Erin Langan said allowing the animals would attract to Elmhurst families who are concerned about living sustainably.

“It can only help Elmhurst,” she said.

More than 700 residents have already signed a petition in support of chickens in the city.

Morley asked city staff to keep the two committees abreast of each other's work.

“We don't want to run afoul of Public Affairs,” Morley said.

“I'll peck away at it,” Werner replied.

Janie October 23, 2012 at 12:36 PM
It can only help Elmhurst? Had this been allowed when I was looking for my home, Elmhurst would have been crossed off my list.
Susan Smentek October 23, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I say "yes" to allowing chickens in Elmhurst. Hens are not noisier than dogs or pet parrots. Residents keep rabbits in hutches in their yards, why not chickens? We should allow ourselves to remove our families from the industrial factory farm system of food-product production when it's feasible. Obviously, we don't have yards big enough to start raising our own cattle, but many do plant vegetable gardens. Chickens should be allowed.
Adam October 23, 2012 at 01:52 PM
sign me up! My brother-in-law has chickens and a goat in Gilberts. His town made it illegal however he is grandfathered in and dosent ever plan on getting rid of them. If elmhurst allowed chickens I would be more than fine with that
Elm Forest October 23, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Cattle next please. One of the most important vitamins that we do not get from our diet (unless you are eating grass fed animal meat or grass fed animal products such as butter) is Vitamin K2. Yes, grass fed chickens and grass fed chicken eggs give you K2 but we don't get it from eating greens as animals do. If you remember how much Vitamin D3 has been endorsed and promoted the last number of years, vitamin K2 is one that you will hear much about in the coming years. If you are interested in knowing about this, the book "Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox" is the latest info. Published January 2012, the author is very thorough and gives history as well as studies that will have you realizing your vitamin regimen is incomplete and maybe hazardous without K2. You can read a bit of the book free on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-K2-Calcium-Paradox-Little-Known/dp/1118065727#reader_1118065727
O October 23, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I ageree! If I wanted chickens I would live on a farm, not in Elmhurst! The city needs to know there are people whom are against this!!!
Mary October 23, 2012 at 06:54 PM
What are your concerns regarding chickens? Fresh eggs, great for your garden compost, don't bark or make any noises. As long as there are permits and rules to comply with - you shouldn't even notice them.
Ralph October 23, 2012 at 06:57 PM
So when you give Coyotes a constant outdoor food source and the family pet ends up missing or mangled, remember how good your eggs taste. Just saying.
Ralph October 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM
......Additionally, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issues warnings regarding unsafe Health Risks associated with raising "back yard" chickens. For those of you eager to pass this, please read, there are Health and Humane issues for both owner and animal, such as: coccidiosis, avian influenza, Marek's disease, Newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, and pox http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pdf/intown_flocks.pdf
JJ October 23, 2012 at 11:02 PM
You can't be serious....I DO NOT WANT CHICKENS IN MY NEIGHBORS YARD! Yes, I am yelling :) If you want chickens move to a farm. Who would monitor on a consistent basis and pay for the city to ensure everyone is keeping them clean without health hazards and all the animals/rodents that come along with them?
PJC October 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Ralph: Your two points alone are reasons not to allow backyard chickens. Coyotes are already a problem - I've seem them mutiple times in my neighborhood, and disease issues can become a serious issue. Will the city strictly enforce hygeine and safety codes for these chicken owners? I have my doubts. There is a reason why chickens are kept on farms - farms are generally in rural areas with far less population density.
Mary October 24, 2012 at 02:20 AM
I have seen coyotes in Elmhurst for the past five years, what does that have to do with allowing chickens in your backyard. Salmonella concern with chicks is no more than pets you have in your house. Are you going to ban lizards, turtles and bird feeders to prevent salmonella? Chickens are no more intrusive, actually less than dogs. Dogs are noisier and produce more fecal matter than chickens. Gardening and compost piles attract more vermin than chickens ever will. Do you ever see raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc in your yard or neighborhood? And how many chickens do you have in your backyard? Backyard chickens is a new trend, the same as going green and sustainability with additional benefits. Chickens can control yard pests without the use of pesticides. They will feed on Japanese beetles, spiders, etc. If you do a proper study of the benefits of backyard chickens, you will learn they can be an enhancement to the neighborhood. The educational value to the children and entertainment alone is worth allowing them. Backyard chickens is not for everyone. If the ordinance passes, hopefully, not everyone in Elmhurst is going to have chickens. You probably know people in Chicago, Oak Park, Evanston and other communities where they allow chickens. They probably do not have neighbors with chickens but if they do, they probably do not notice them until they get a delivery of eggs from their neighbor.
O October 24, 2012 at 02:34 AM
PJC October 24, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Mary - are you serious?......what do coyotes have to do with chickens?? Really??? Let me just say that the coyote(s) in my neighborhood (near Jefferson School) have been seen jumping yard fences and confronting 70 plus pound dogs. They are hungry and would love nothing more than a nice chicken dinner - maybe they'll even invite their friends! That said, I know what fresh farm eggs taste like and there is nothing better, but a densely populated suburb is not the place to keep chickens - yeah for Evanston, Oak Park etc., but keep it out of Elmhurst.
Mary October 25, 2012 at 06:25 PM
We really need to educate ourselves to really put to rest people's concerns. These are common misconceptions and fears. More and more people are interested in living a sustainable life style. Government, utilities, and non-governmental organizations are encouraging citizens to reduce their consumption of resources. A small number of backyard chickens allow us the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and support the local food movement. Dog waste contains higher concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus than cows, chickens, or pigs and is a major contributor of excessive nutrients that flow into ground and surface waters through runoff from sidewalks and lawns. Chickens do not attract insects; they eat them! They love to eat all types of bugs, including those that can carry human diseases like mosquitoes and ticks. They also eat slugs that would otherwise harm garden crops and bedding plants. They do not attract flies. In fact, they eat fly larvae (maggots) before they can grow up to become adult flies. Unlike commercial poultry operations or rural farms, people in the city who keep chickens as pets tend to keep them in very attractive enclosures. In fact, they treat them like pets and tend to spoil them. A chicken pen is not likely to attract rodents or wildlife unless chicken feed is spilled or not stored properly. This same thing holds true for dog or cat food. Please keep an open mind before you rush to judge.
Full Name October 25, 2012 at 09:29 PM
you idiots -- of course you see coyotes. they are released on purpose by MANY CITIES INCLUDING CHICAGO to control rats. Would you rather have 2 foot long rats from Chicago hanging out with your kids in the backyard? Also, hello, the Des Plaines river -- coyotes follow that down from lake county, Wisconsin, etc. coyotes are much less of a problems than SKUNKS. They are not ATTRACTED to your dumb asses. I saw one the other night, just trotting happily along. Half of Elmhurst is next to the train tracks anyway -- is a chicken louder than that??? Is a clean coop dirtier than someone with 7 dogs? newsflash -- hens do not crow, only roosters, which should not be allowed, agreed. Maybe you should worry more about your own business than what is in your neighbor's backyard. Chickens eat bugs. Hello.
JJ October 25, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Worrying about what is in my neighbors back yard is a valid concern, as it directly affects me. I don't want 7 cats or dogs there either and I did have a neighbor with one dog they didn't clean up after and when the wind was blowing, it wasn't pleasant. No one is addressing who will monitor these "clean" chicken coups and who will absorb the cost of this monitoring. Does anyone know the answer? Guess I'll just have to call the city when I can't take it anymore and it looks and smells like a farm? What is the cost of raising two chickens, build a coop, keep separate clothes only for the coop, feed them, and clean up? Buy organic eggs and chickens and find a hobby that doesn't impose on your neighbors or property values. Or better yet, drive to Oak Park where you buy the eggs from a resident there! How many eggs do you eat a week? Haven't you heard there's a cholesterol problem in this country?
Cluck A. Cluck October 26, 2012 at 04:32 AM
My husband was diagnosed with a lung fungus many years ago. After being ill (night sweats, constant coughing, weight loss) for over a month (two different antibiotics) his Dr. referred him to a pulmonary doctor. EMH couldn't determine the illness, so a specimen was sent to the CDC. It was a lung fungus caused by chicken droppings. My husband traveled to work each day and passed an old chicken farm where the land was being excavated to build condos and apartments. He ingested the dust droppings which were air-borne. He now has lung scarring from that fungus. The treatment would've been a slow I-V drip for several days. By the time this was detected as a fungus, his body had already conquered it. He was a very sick man. I would not recommend any chickens in backyards. This is a health issue for the entire community.
Steve October 26, 2012 at 02:57 PM
What's with the insults. Provide your opinion but don't bash others. I personally see both sides of the issue but I wouldn't insult the individual making the comments.
Elm Forest October 26, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Steve, I appreciate what you wrote. It's really good to have you post that. Too many use these sites to blow off some steam but the anger isn't directed properly. Just being a potty mouth or bully isn't saying much good about the submitter.
Abdul Khan November 10, 2012 at 05:19 PM
And who will be monitoring if people are cleaning up after their dogs in the park? Who will monitor if the dog feces is picked up when people walk their dogs after it gets dark? We all know that most dog owners simply skip picking up the dog's excrement after dark because no one has been watching them. We ought to raise a big flag about this and have a city council discussion about dog walkers and the dog waste pick up. Perhaps a crew of city walkers should be enforcing the dog ordinance, search lights at night and night vision too!


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