A Closer Look At Illinois Urban Backyards & Chickens
By Tom Seest
At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.
In Champaign, Illinois, the city council approved backyard chickens for residents. Now, city planners are working to create an ordinance to regulate the chickens. This is an entirely new ordinance that city officials are developing from scratch. Backyard chickens are already a popular hobby among residents of Urbana.
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The most common backyard chicken breeds in Urbana, Illinois, are the Buff Orpington, Barred Rocks, and Australorps. These are known for their large, light brown eggs and talkative nature. These chickens are also heat and cold-tolerant and a great choice for families looking to add some kitty-cat-like entertainment to their backyard.
Urbana, Illinois, alderman Charlie Smyth said he has not heard of many problems with backyard chickens but that the city has not yet passed a unified ordinance regarding chickens. The city has several ordinances dealing with animal cruelty, odor, and noise. Urbana resident Jill Miller raises hens for egg production. Her neighbor, Karl Schoeps, lives about a mile away, and he said he has put up with odors and birds landing in his yard.
Dominiques are gentle, docile chickens that lay three to four medium-sized light brown eggs each week. They are auto-sexing, with males having larger, dispersed head spots and females with smaller, uniform spots. Dominiques are generally easy to raise and maintain.
Ameraucana chickens are an excellent choice if you want to have a companionable and loving hen. They are friendly, docile, and predator-smart chickens. They enjoy human interaction, although they may not love cuddling. This breed is known for its versatility, as it comes in various colors and patterns. An Ameraucana with a lavender or blue splash would be a great addition to a coop.
The Plymouth Rock is an excellent breed with a mellow, friendly disposition. It also produces large, delicious eggs. These hens lay an average of three eggs per week and are excellent laying chickens. In addition to their egg production, they’re good at coping with confinement. This breed is also known to be hardy and tolerant of cold weather.
The legality of keeping chickens on private property in Urbana, Illinois, is up for debate. In 2007, Ald. Lona Lane attempted to ban chickens from the city. The supporters of the ban claimed that chickens attracted rats and created filth. In addition, they cited provisions in the city’s municipal code that prohibited ritual animal sacrifice. Despite strong opposition from the chicken keepers, the councilor’s office dropped the proposal. Despite this, it’s unclear whether new restrictions will be proposed.
City officials are currently reviewing the city’s rules regarding backyard chickens. They’re looking at the maximum number of chickens residents can keep, whether residents need permits, and how to design their coops. They’re also learning about chicken herders’ schedules and how to manage them, but they are not yet ready to roll out formal rules.
Keeping chickens on private property in Urbana, IL, is legal, but residents must obtain a license. It costs $25. Additionally, they must register their property with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. If they fail to meet these requirements, they will be subject to enforcement action. While keeping chickens is a great hobby, there are many benefits as well. In addition to fresh food, chickens improve soil, provide a fun conversation piece, and help you learn more about where your food comes from.
Although the laws regarding livestock in urban areas have become more liberal over the past decade, there’s still a strong opposition to livestock in the suburbs. Nevertheless, the Emanuel administration recently amended the city’s municipal code and added a few provisions to ensure the rights of livestock keepers. This is good news for livestock lovers in the Chicago area.
Despite the growing popularity of backyard chickens, there are many health concerns associated with these flocks. Among these concerns is Salmonella contamination, a possible cause of salmonellosis. Since backyard poultry are often sold and handled by children, proper hygiene is essential. Health professionals recommend using hand sanitizers and handwashing stations when handling chickens. It is also advisable to keep all chickens and ducks out of reach of children and display them in an area where children cannot access them. You should also thoroughly cook any eggs collected from your chickens.
Urbana city officials are investigating whether to issue permits to people who raise backyard chickens, if the number of chickens allowed by law should be limited, and what sort of guidelines should be followed for coop design. They’re also learning about the schedules and habits of chicken herders, though they haven’t yet adopted any formal rules.
Another concern is the avian flu, which has affected at least three backyard flocks in the state this spring. While there’s no specific cure for the disease, backyard poultry owners are encouraged to get their flocks tested for the virus. Additionally, it’s important to keep your birds away from ponds and lakes where migrating waterfowl congregate. Viruses spread through waterfowl droppings, which can infect humans and poultry.
Several common landscape plants and weeds are toxic to backyard chickens. They have foul-smelling seeds, and young animals often eat them out of curiosity. The toxins in these plants can cause diarrhea, weight loss, and reduced egg production. They can also increase mortality. To protect your chickens from these plants, you should provide food sources and fencing.
In 2001, the city of Urbana, Illinois, removed most restrictions for livestock. Today, residents have the opportunity to raise backyard chickens, and the city’s animal control department is working to develop an ordinance allowing the practice. As of now, there are no specific restrictions or regulations for backyard chickens in Urbana, Illinois, but city planners are studying similar rules in other cities for guidance. They are also reviewing complaints about roosters from other communities.
In the Champaign-Urbana area, there are several egg farms. Among them is the Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana, Illinois. The Co-Op sources eggs from local farms, including some that are as close as Mansfield. There’s also a farm in Mahomet called Joyful Wren Farm, which offers eggs daily from dawn to dusk. Another option is to subscribe to an egg-sharing program at a local farm.
Egg producers have different opinions on how to best treat chickens. Some use a cage-free environment to improve hen welfare, while others use a traditional, enclosed cage system. In the end, the choice comes down to personal preference, and you may have to sacrifice the eggs for company profits.
In the University of Illinois, a program is underway to sell eggs to local families. Some are selling eggs directly to consumers, and others are distributing surplus eggs to neighboring families. According to Garry Herzog, owner of Prairieland Feeds in Savoy, Illinois, there has been a steady increase in demand for laying feeds in the last two years. Additionally, the farm receives numerous requests from people interested in the chicken-raising process.
While backyard chickens have long-term benefits, they can also pose a risk of human illness. Backyard chickens are often exposed to pathogens through inappropriate handling and excessive affection by children. Because of this, it is vital to thoroughly wash your hands after handling live poultry. For young children, handwashing is particularly important. Also, make sure that the area is clean and sanitized before handling eggs that have been collected from your backyard chickens.
If you’ve been thinking about raising backyard chickens, you may be wondering what to feed them. The truth is, the answer isn’t always as complicated as it seems. By following the 90/10 rule, feeding your backyard flock a healthy diet is actually quite easy. You simply need to keep track of what your chickens are eating and how well they’re doing. In addition to that, you should also provide treats for them and allow them to forage in your backyard for food.
While backyard chickens are a great way to enjoy fresh eggs and produce, you should also be aware of the risk of contracting diseases. One of the biggest risks is getting contaminated with the deadly bird flu, or “avian influenza.” In recent years, the CDC has identified outbreaks linked to backyard poultry in 38 states. One in four of those illnesses was in children under the age of five, and one person died in Tennessee. In addition, the real number of people who contracted the illness is likely to be higher than these numbers because many people do not receive medical treatment and do not get tested for Salmonella. Also, remember that backyard poultry can spread germs from wild animals, pets, and even mosquitoes.
In the Midwest, winters are usually cold, so you may want to choose poultry varieties that can survive the winter months. You should also consider using plastic sheeting in the run, which will provide a windbreak in cold weather. Also, make sure you provide heated water bowls for your chickens. Make sure there’s plenty of litter in the laying house so they have enough to lay eggs.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.