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Plainfield Gives Backyard Chicken Coops the OK

Trustees voted Monday to amend the village’s ordinance regarding livestock.

Backyard chickens could soon come to Plainfield.

But anybody who wants to raise chickens to teach their kids about sustainability or to produce farm-fresh eggs will have to follow a set of guidelines, including keeping their coops at least 30 feet from adjacent homes and securing the proper permits to build an enclosure for the animals.

“Just because chickens are being proposed, I don’t envision a huge influx of people wanting to raise chickens on their property,” Police Chief John Konopek said. “It is a large undertaking.”

Roosters have nothing to crow about under the ordinance — the noisy barnyard birds are still banned.

Only hens are permitted, and there is a limit of eight chickens per household.

Under the ordinance, chickens must be kept in shelter or adjacent outside fenced area at all times. The outside fenced area must be no less than 32 square feet and must be enclosed with a fence constructed of wood or metal.

The shelter is required to be at least 16 square feet and no more than six feet tall, and must contain an independent electric heat source that does not require the use of extension cords.

Chicken owners are also required to keep their coops clean and tidy to minimize odors.

All areas must be maintained “in a neat and clean manner, free from undue accumulation of waste such as to cause odors detectable on adjacent properties,” the ordinance states.

The rules also prohibit slaughtering of chickens on residential property, except for humane reasons.

“From a sanitary point of view, you’d be better off removing them” from the property before slaughtering any sick or injured chickens, or removing them immediately after, trustee Bill Lamb said.

Anyone keeping chickens will also be required to register with the village’s planning department before acquiring their hens. Registration will not be granted until the shelter has passed final inspection by the village’s building department, according to the ordinance.

With the new rules, Plainfield joins the ranks of suburbs including Downers Grove, St. Charles, Evanston and Oak Park, which all allow backyard chicken coops.

Village Administrator Brian Murphy noted that although village ordinance now permits backyard chickens, residents will still have to abide by their homeowners association's rules on the matter.

The ordinance change passed 4-1, with trustee Paul Fay casting the lone no vote. Trustee Garrett Peck was absent.

Klgarr October 16, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Very good decision
J Hill October 16, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I am a bit worried about the recent increase in daytime sightings of coyotes and if having chicken coops will further enhance these sightings. I guess time will tell.
Joel Craig October 16, 2012 at 02:41 PM
@J Hill: There is no doubt that chickens will not only attract coyotes but also Cooper's Hawks. The ordinance requires fairly significant shelter. If one's yard is fenced, plus you have the 32 sq. ft. chicken pen, it would be pretty tough for a coyote to enter. However, it won't keep the hawks out. Owners need to be aware of this danger and decide how to deal with it.
Susan Osborne October 16, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I believe these fenced area for the chickens are required to have a fenced top, if I am reading this correctly. That will stop the hawks. But, I have a question. Is this ordinance in affect now? Who do we contact to begin the process?
Susan Osborne October 16, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Do we need a permit for the fence for the chickens even though it is within the boundaries of our property since Plainfield requires permits to erect a fence?
Shannon Antinori (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 04:06 PM
All the permits have to come from the village's building department, so I would start there: (815) 439-2937.
Bobby October 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Coyotes & hawks are as, if not more so afraid of humans... I'd be willing to bet they won't start eating kids, although it would cut down on the overpopulation by humans...
Tim October 16, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Peck didn't vote. What a surprise. What has he actually done as a member of the village board, other than talk?
Bruce M October 16, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Just curious...how is the feces and straw to be disposed of?
Susan Osborne October 16, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Composting - It is of such high quality for compost material that it is sold commercially. The Composting barrels are for sale at the Plainfield Village Hall
Bruce M October 16, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Hope the composting is required by the Village!
Susan Osborne October 16, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Actually, composting is only ONE way of disposing of the waste. The simpler way is to dispose of it in paper bags to the landfill with the trash pick up. Very easy.
Lori Janiec October 17, 2012 at 12:04 AM
This is going to backfire on Plainfield. Very disappointed.
oldschool October 17, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Why do you think this will backfire? Many towns (Naperville, Downers Grove, Oak Park) in this area have been allowing chickens with no problems at all.
Susan Osborne October 17, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Actually, chickens are legal in CHICAGO and I have never heard of any problem from that.
Joel Craig October 18, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Agreed @oldschool. Besides, I hardly think that a significant portion of the population is going to start raising chickens. The start-up expense and the amount of upkeep will make people think twice before starting their own flock.
Robert October 19, 2012 at 02:49 PM
ARE YOU FRICKIN KIDDING ME? CHICKEN COOPS??? I live next to a foreclosure that has been vacant for 2-years and have had to cut the grass and trim the bushes because the city wont do it and the bank wont do it.....and yet they have time to give consideration and approval for this kind of stuff. Plainfield....please have some class!!!! No Chickens, Enforce your own laws regarding lawn and yard maintanence, and start being progressive. Chickens in backyards??? Is this the 1930's?
Lisa S. October 22, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Apparently Robert, yes ;-) This Village hasn't made a good decision in years...why start now. Next thing you know we'll have goats 'mowing' our lawns for us. Afterall it's a green solution and some Village somewhere allows that so why shouldn't we? (yes- I am kidding)
Jacoby O'Connor October 08, 2013 at 11:40 AM
What exactly do you have against people having a connection to their food? Chickens are far cleaner than a dog and will actually contribute to the well being of a yard. Please do some research on Chickens and what is involved before you speak out in ignorance. There are far more positives to having chickens than negatives.
Jacoby O'Connor October 08, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Lots of good information here http://www.backyardchickens.com/. Like raising any animal. Knowledge is key.
oldschool October 08, 2013 at 10:30 PM
One year later...No reports of chickens running wild in town. And you would love the eggs I get everyday!

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