Guest Column: Is Rockford too good for chickens?

June 4, 2014
Chicken

Editor’s note: The following was addressed to Editor and Publisher Frank Schier and is republished here as a guest column with permission.

Mr. Schier,

Hi, I have been a resident of Rockford for a few years. I came here from Sycamore.

I have almost 2 acres on the south side of town. After reading the Rockford ordinances, and not finding anything clearly written against it, I decided to get a few chickens to keep as a hobby.

Well, I just got a violation of city ordinance for having chickens. I have about a month to get rid of them. Now, I have to tell my kids (and all the kids in the neighborhood who come to watch them) that I have to get rid of them.

I am wondering why the city has the “no chicken” rule when they really don’t disturb anything. ALSO, about all the cities around us allow chickens?

Some of the local cities that allow chickens include the following:

• Chicago (http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Illinois/chicago_il/municipalcodeofchicago?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il)

• Lombard (http://www.villageoflombard.org/index.aspx?nid=169)

• St. Charles (http://stcharlesil.gov/codebook/Title-6/index.asp)

• Springfield (http://library3.municode.com/default-test/home.htm?infobase=12414&doc_action=whatsnew)

• Loves Park (http://library3.municode.com/default-test/home.htm?infobase=10953&doc_action=whatsnew)

• Naperville (http://search.municode.com/html/14853/level2/T10_C4.html)

• Plainfield (http://www.plainfield-il.org/)

• West Dundee (http://www.wdundee.org/apps/vwide/WDWeb.nsf/97020439ABFC0221862577E30058A327/$file/ORD10-22_AnimalLicense-Amendment2.pdf)

• Evanston (http://library.municode.com/showDocumentFrame.aspx?clientID=14913&docID=2)

• Downers Grove (http://www.downers.us/public/docs/code/Chapter05.pdf)

I can’t imagine why the Rockford city lawmakers think we are better than some of these cities.

What makes Rockford too good for chickens? Evanston isn’t too good for chickens (ever priced homes in Evanston?). Naperville has some of the best schools in the state, so it can’t be that. Maybe they are talking about higher unemployment and misery index. Maybe if more people in Rockford were allowed to have chickens, the misery index would improve.

Chickens are great … they are cute, they are funny as heck (I can sit and laugh at them for hours), and they are pretty clean … at least compared to the 100 pigeons we are allowed to have in Rockford (Rockford pigeon law: http://library.municode.com/HTML/14387/level3/PTIGEOR_CH4AN_ARTIINGE.html#PTIGEOR_CH4AN_ARTIINGE_).

My chickens are all quiet girls, so there isn’t a rooster crowing and making a bunch of noise. I don’t plan on killing chickens. I just like to have them around to enjoy, and with the eggs, they are like pets that give you food … how can you beat it?

I really love Rockford. The parks are great, everything you can imagine doing is here in this town. The people are nice in general, but the city is killing us in dumb regulations … and if the property value didn’t suck so bad in Rockford, I would give thought to moving out. Maybe up to Loves Park … I heard the property tax is less up there, too.

Please put something in the paper for those of us who love chickens … they really are pets, not agriculture.

The whole situation just irritates me.

David Bardwell
Tentative Rockford resident

From the June 4-10, 2014, issue

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