Beloit is open for chickens
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Deb Crockett feeds a chicken last summer at Angelic Organics Learning Center in Caledonia, Ill. Crockett is a member of Beloit Backyard Chickens, which was behind a push to allow raising chickens in the city of Beloit. Dennis Hines photo.
BELOIT -- With the start of the new year, Beloit residents soon will be able to have some feathered friends clucking around in their backyards.
The backyard chicken ordinance, which was approved by the Beloit City Council during the summer, went into effect on Wednesday, Jan. 2. The ordinance allows residents to have up to four hens on their property.
However, there are a few things residents must know before they begin building their coop and counting their chickens. Residents first must apply for a permit and other completed documents.
“They have to submit the completed application form, the fee and a scale drawing that shows the coop, the chicken run, the structure and the setbacks,” said Julie Christensen, community development director for the city of Beloit. “Once it’s approved, they can get their coop, their chicken run and their chickens.”
Permit applications are available at the planning and building services division located on the third floor of the Beloit City Hall building, 100 State St.
The annual permit fee is $35, and only 30 permits will be issued during the first year.
“The council authorized 30 in the first year, then after that we will issue permits based on the number of people who are interested in applying,” Christensen said.
Deb Crockett, member of the Beloit Backyard Chickens, the group that worked with city officials to draft the ordinance, said she feels 30 permits is appropriate for the first year.
“There were people who had concerns about how it was going to be regulated. It will allow the city to find out what types of problems they might have,” Crockett said.
Once a permit is approved, the resident must design a coop that does not exceed 24 square feet. The chicken run cannot exceed 40 square feet in size or 1 percent of the rear yard, whichever is greater. The chicken coop and the run must be set back 10 feet from the rear wall of their house and 20 feet from any principal structures or adjacent lots. The chickens must be inside the coop or the run at all times.
“We’re really trying to keep (the chickens) inside the yard to minimize any consequences to neighboring properties of people who maybe don’t want the chickens,” Christensen said.
Learn the art of hen housekeeping
A free course on raising chickens, called "Backyard Chickens 101" is slated from 6-7 p.m. Jan. 31, at the Delavan Community Centre, 826 E. Geneva St. in Delavan.
Participants must be at least 18 years old.
There are 28 openings remaining.
Twain Lockhart, a poultry consultant in Cargill's animal nutrition department, will teach the class. Dale Wheelock, chairman of the Town of Darien Recreation Commission, will help teach.
The course will cover how to get started raising backyard chickens, what's needed, a basic time line you can follow, and what to expect.
Register for the class online or call (262) 728-5585, ext. 2 for more information.
Backyard chicken ordinance highlights
Beloit’s backyard chicken ordinance took effect Wednesday, Jan. 2. The ordinance allows residents to raise up to four hens on their property.
According to the city of Beloit, some of the highlights of the ordinance include:
-- A person may keep up to four hens on any lot containing just one single-family residence
-- No roosters will be allowed
-- The chicken coop cannot exceed 24 square feet in size
-- The chicken run cannot exceed 40 square feet in size or 1 percent of the rear yard, whichever is greater
-- The coop and the run must be set back at least 10 feet from the rear wall of a single-family residence
-- The coop and run must be set back 10 feet from all property lines, except where the side or rear property line abuts an alley, in which case it must be set back three feet from that property line
-- The coop and run must be set back 20 feet from any principal structures on adjacent lots.
-- All food supplies must be kept in a secure and rodent-proof container
-- Chickens can only be fed food scraps within the chicken coop. Food scraps cannot be fed to the chickens in the run
-- According to the municipal code, all exterior property areas shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. The property owner or tenant must dispose of any waste generated by the operation of the coop and run, including chicken carcasses, manure, droppings and spoiled food.
-- Coops and chicken runs must be kept clean, dry and odor free and kept in a sanitary condition at all times in such a manner as to not disturb the use or enjoyment of adjoining property due to noise, odor or any other adverse impact
-- Chickens must be kept in a coop or chicken run at all times. Between sunrise and sunset, chickens may be allowed outside of the coop in the chicken run. Chickens must be secured within the coop between sunset and sunrise
-- No person shall slaughter any chicken within the city of Beloit other than at a licensed meat processing facility.