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.