Des Plaines may soon come to life to the sound of cackling. The city council on Monday tentatively agreed to loosen restrictions on keeping chickens — only chickens —in backyard coops and allow more coops in the city.
This will turn the three-year pilot program, which expires next month, into a permanent one.
If the council gives the green light at the next meeting on April 3, chicken owners will be able to keep six birds instead of four. In addition, the limit limiting the city to 100 permits for keeping chickens will be lifted.
Interest in keeping chickens has increased over the past decade. Wheeling, Rolling Meadows, Elgin, Wauconda and Batavia are among those localities that have developed rules for keeping chickens.
According to supporters, chickens are a source of healthy and affordable eggs, contribute to environmental education and are not as noisy as roosters, which are not needed for egg production.
Among the city rules:
Permits require a one-time fee of $35.
Chicken enclosures should be located in fenced backyards and should not be visible from the street.
Enclosures must be at least five feet away from the boundaries of the site or other buildings.
The area of the enclosures should not exceed 100 square feet, and the height should not exceed 8 feet.
The slaughter of chickens is prohibited.
Roosters are prohibited.
“No one is going to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to the noise of a rooster,” said sixth Ward alderman Malcolm Chester.
Chester said he opposed the pilot program a few years ago, but now supports the expansion of the program because there are fewer problems.
The alderman of the second district, Colt Moylan, also spoke in support of the program. He said his family is among the chicken owners and called the experience “amazing.”
“They are a good addition to the family,” he said of his chickens.
None of the aldermen voted against the motion.