What the Cluck? Should Homewood Allow Chickens?

Believe it or not, there is an increasing interest among Homewood residents to raise chickens.

It may sound funny at first, but there’s no joking about it. Many Homewood folks want chickens.

One Homewood resident, who wished to remain anonymous, explains:

“With the growing trend for people to get back to growing their own food and being more conscious of where their food is coming from, I've talked to quite a few residents who want to have chickens,” she said. “I even know people who moved out of Homewood so they could have the freedom to have their own plot of land with some chickens.”

Mayor Richard Hofeld has previously expressed opposition to the idea. According to him, chickens aren’t suited for our semi-urban setting.

“Chickens smell,” Hofeld previously said in a Patch video. “They really and truly do.”

Many major cities, however, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles allow their residents to keep the birds. And there are other benefits, according to our anonymous advocate.

“They are effective in pest control, great for the ground—and fresh eggs are great,” she said. “Also, for those with the stomachs for it, being able to provide your family with meat is awesome—especially if you know how that animal was cared for.”

Does the notion of sharing your backyard with a chicken coop horrify you, or do you welcome the idea? We want to hear what you think!

Liese A Ricketts January 19, 2014 at 06:07 PM
Nick, my squirrel-chomping dogs would agree entirely. Just because Flossmoor won't allow pick up trucks to be parked in the driveway does not mean we have to do a 180 and become the Clampetts.
Nick002 January 19, 2014 at 06:31 PM
I wasn't just being snarky about the coyotes. If a predator gets wind of the chickens and comes snooping around, where do you think it's going to turn if the chickens are completely secure. Yep, your dog or cat. I have friends in the city who have the same problem with people who feed feral cats - it attracts possums and other predators, who then attack other pets in the neighborhood. Why add to the problem with chickens?
Lynn January 19, 2014 at 07:12 PM
as always there are the closed minded individuals who dream up every possible negative factor the can come up with.
Kate Duff January 19, 2014 at 07:21 PM
All small animals out loose at night are going to attract predators. Most people don't leave their dogs and cats unsecured at night any more than they would their chickens. Predators are far less likely to attack pets than they are to go after their natural prey that are already in abundance in Homewood -- namely, rabbits. (By predators, I'm referring to coyotes, foxes, and raccoons. Possums can be pests, but they are not predators of dogs and cats; they are omnivores whose natural prey is rarely larger than a mouse. They do love cat food, however, which is why your friends in the city are seeing them.)
Jason Baldauf January 19, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Great idea! Just limit the amount of chickens and have common sense guidelines in regards to keeping coops clean. Hens make very little noise, specify no roosters in the ordinance.
HeyDey-O January 19, 2014 at 07:48 PM
Nick002 - if a coyote gets wind of your indoor/outdoor kitty, kiss your puss goodbye. Or your small dog. I lived in an apartment where 3 resident cats were taken out by coyotes. No joke. Welcome to living on planet Earth. There are predators for everything - including your domestic animals. Domestic animals? Hey wait a minute, chickens are domestic animals. And they live all over the country. Cold, warm. Homewood is not progressive because it has a hard line based on ignorant preconceived notions that chickens belong on a farm. Roosters - heck - no one wants a rooster except breeders. Kate Duff - I would sit with you in a village hall meeting to push for this!
Jason Baldauf January 19, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Lynn January 19, 2014 at 08:33 PM
I would too Kate.
Nick002 January 19, 2014 at 09:30 PM
A little research turns up the following (most relevant quote - "But just be aware that avid urban chicken fans tend to understate many of the accompanying challenges." The downside of raising backyard chickens - http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865557162/The-bad-side-of-raising-backyard-chickens.html?pg=all Many 'hipsters' abandoning backyard chickens - http://www.ksl.com/?sid=26018563 Hipster farmers abandoning urban chickens because they’re too much work - http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/09/hipster-farmers-abandoning-urban-chickens-because-theyre-too-much-work/ Chickens Flood Shelters As Backyard Farmers Call It Quits - http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/07/09/chickens-flood-shelters-as-backyard-farmers-call-it-quits/#ixzz2qtyfuhyh The Problem With Backyard Chickens - http://theseglasswalls.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/the-problem-with-backyard-chickens/ Backyard Hens: A Trend Coming Home to Roost? - http://freakonomics.com/2011/07/27/backyard-hens-a-trend-coming-home-to-roost/
Kayo January 19, 2014 at 09:40 PM
it's likely there won't be many people wanting to try this, so why not let them try?
Jack January 19, 2014 at 09:52 PM
No Roosters. That is so sexist. lol
Kate Duff January 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM
Is your argument that a ban on chicken ownership is justified because some people haven't acted responsibly? But the shelters are filled with abandoned dogs and cats whose owners underestimated the commitment they entailed - not to mention the ones abused by their owners. So shouldn't we enact a ban on dog and cat ownership? As the logic dictates...
Renee Boerema-Covert January 19, 2014 at 10:15 PM
Limit quantity of chickens for health reasons according to a fenced property size but if less than a stated TBD property size, then no. A problem may arise if owners with wrong intentions toward the animals become interested in owning chickens for illegal profit. Not trying to give anyone ideas here!
Lynn January 19, 2014 at 10:51 PM
If you are referring to " Cock Fighting" Renee -- it would not happen-- Hens don't fight - Males are Cocks Females are Hens
Linda T January 19, 2014 at 11:11 PM
The phrase 'pecking order' comes from chickens and the way they establish hierarchy in the flock. Hens can, and do fight. In a flock with a rooster, the rooster will keep everyone in line. With only hens, one hen typically establishes herself as the dominant one and takes on the role a rooster would play in protecting the others and keeping them in line. When introducing new chickens to an established group it's important to do it carefully because hens have been known to peck a new member of the flock to death. I'm not trying to encourage the naysayers here because I support backyard chicken keeping. But it is important for anyone, before moving forward on backyard chicken keeping, to educate themselves on what it takes to be successful and keep a happy little group of hens. It's no different than people going to the pound or pet store and picking up a pup or kitty and not first understanding how to successfully train and care for them. It's a commitment and the first commitment to make is to do one's homework, understand the needs of chickens and make sure one is willing to do what it takes to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. It's no different than responsible ownership of any other pet.
Lynn January 20, 2014 at 08:07 AM
OK -- I KNOW Hens DO fight and I also know where the term "pecking order " comes from. They do fight among themselves & in their "community and know it is with care new members are introduced. However I was addressing the inference about Chicken fighting. I E - COCK Fighting for which Hens are NOT used.
Linda T January 20, 2014 at 08:30 AM
Gotcha Lynn . . . not surprised you know that, just wanted to head that one off at the pass before the negatives got ahold of it and tried to use it to dice up the whole idea, especially after seeing that kind of thing happen time and time again on Patch.
Lynn January 20, 2014 at 10:08 AM
Thanx Linda!! Just wanted to be clear on that-- "just in case" ; ) I understand where you are coming from too.
Thomahawk January 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM
Why are opponents so chicken about this?
Jack January 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM
Which ultimately comes to the most sought after question of all time! Why did the chicken cross the road?
beth martin January 20, 2014 at 05:45 PM
It is true that hens have a pecking order and they will mostly peck at one another for their social position but it is rare that it goes to the place that a hen dies. If there is plenty of food, fresh water and space, then that lessens the stress of working out pecking order. But this is a non issue if you are raising chicks from hatch. If you add new pullets to an existing flock, then you need to do it in stages. I have done it 4 times. I have not lost a hen. They work it out. Everyone gets water, food and treats. You do need to be more observant when combining flocks. Plan on doing the Windy City Coop tour in the fall. And check out the www.chicagochickens.org website.
Kate Duff January 20, 2014 at 08:25 PM
Residents of Homewood who would like to see the ordinances changed to allow for backyard chickens are invited to meet in the Homewood Public Library meeting room on Saturday, January 25 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. If you have questions, please contact us through the Hens for Homewood Facebook page. We'll have an event announcement up soon so people can sign up.
Brian James January 20, 2014 at 09:11 PM
As long I can't here them or smell them, I have no problem. If this does become an issue for residents then the owners should be forced to keep the birds in their house.
Kate Duff January 20, 2014 at 09:19 PM
Please sign up and let us know if you're coming on Saturday: https://www.facebook.com/events/1384474191813769/
Tom Losh January 21, 2014 at 09:55 AM
If you want to raise chickens in your home, go right ahead! As long as neighbors don't have hear or smell them, I say go for it!
James Madison January 22, 2014 at 09:50 PM
HeyDey-O January 27, 2014 at 11:08 PM
Chickens are not just for farm folks anymore, folks! Here's an interactive map that shows chicken friendly communities which includes Naperville, Oak Park, the CITY OF CHICAGO, Palos, Worth: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/310268/chicken-lore-project-find-submit-local-chicken-laws-ordinances The truth is, urban sustainability is a growing movement - people are getting back to their roots and growing gardens and raising chickens all over the country. Pay attention to where your food is coming from! The industrial farming model is killing our fertile soil and causing mayhem in our food supply. Backyard gardens and chickens are clean, responsible, healthy, financially beneficial and it won't infect your neighbors with Hillbillyitus! No one is going to be let off the hook for not maintaining their property because we allow people to have chickens. We still have to keep our properties in good shape!
Lynn January 28, 2014 at 05:57 AM
Very good and valid points Hey-Dey-O Thank you for share tghe information & your thoughts.
John May February 24, 2014 at 05:35 PM
"Chickens flood shelters" That's a line from the post above about people getting tired of their chickens and giving them up to the humane society. I'm just aghast. I can't even think of the words. Now, I don't mean to sound insensitive. I understand that there are people who are ethically opposed to eating meat. But I promise, there is not going to be a problem with "unwanted chickens". There just won't.
Robert Mattison March 29, 2014 at 03:57 PM
John, Thanks your promise makes us all feel so much better. I know you will be a responsible "chicken man" LOL


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