15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by maureenmorley
Patch Instagram photo by maureenmorley

Feathers Fly in Debate Over Backyard Chickens

Residents flock to City Hall to discuss whether backyard chickens should be permitted to live in Batavia.

Feathers Fly in Debate Over Backyard Chickens

The issue of whether Batavia should pass an ordinance to allow raising backyard chickens is ruffling some feathers in the city. About 50 residents attended Tuesday’s City Council City Services Committee meeting to weigh in on the issue.

Alderman Jim Volk, chairman of the Services Committee, said city officials have received more than 100 e-mails about the proposal, both for and against allowing residents to raise chickens.

The ordinance being considered would allow up to eight laying hens, but would prohibit the keeping of roosters and slaughtering of chickens.

Al Phillips was one of the residents who spoke out against the proposal, citing concerns about chickens bringing disease and current declining property values.

“Chickens do get sick and spread diseases like salmonella,” Phillips said. “Chicken coops are eyesores. I don’t know if it’s worth it to do all this to our community just because people don’t want to spend $4 on organic produce. We don’t want to depress our property values.”

Resident Jim Kirkhoff said he supports the ordinance.

“Anyone who’s had fresh eggs know what fresh eggs are like and they’re a beautiful thing,” he said. “This is an opportunity for our citizens to control our food source and I think that’s something a lot of people are interested in.”

The issue of raising backyard chickens was raised last fall by Batavia residents Betsy Zinser and Jennifer Warta. Several local jurisdictions, including Naperville, West Dundee and Evanston permit chickens, with various limitations.

Volk said if committee members decide to move forward in allowing residents to raise chickens, the idea could go before the City Council in late April or May.

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