West Dundee lays out rules for chicken owners

The West Dundee village board has finally run out of things to discuss regarding requirements for backyard chickens, leaving most residents on five-acre lots free to own as many as to four at a time.

The village board voted at its Nov. 15 meeting to finalize amendments to the animal control ordinance — a discussion it began in August.

Resident Brian Leith initially approached the board requesting a reduction in the licensing fee, which had been $25 per bird. That request launched a dialogue about much more than just fees.

The new ordinance:

• Reduces the fee to $25 for a total of four birds.

• Sets a coop and coop enclosure size requirement at a minimum of 40 square feet and a maximum of 100 square feet.

• Calls for a coop setback of 10 feet from the property line but no less than 15 feet from the nearest adjacent house.

• Requires residents to keep food for the animals in rodent proof containers.

• Compels owners to keep chickens in coops from sundown to sunup.

• Prohibits chickens in multistory apartment or condo complexes.

West Dundee repealed its ban on farm animals in the village paving the way for the $25 chicken licenses in 2004. Until August, the village board hadn't discussed the matter since.

Village Manager Joe Cavallaro said it is nice to see the end of the discussion.

“We'll see now if this is put to use in the community,” Cavallaro said.

Leith's family, at least, plans to get its chickens in the spring.