Archive for October 6th, 2020

Darien, IL Residents Win the Right to Keep Backyard Chickens


Darien resident Melissa Goodridge and her chicken coop

On Monday Oct. 5, the Darien, IL City Council voted unanimously that city residents have a right to keep chickens in their backyards. This ruling ends weeks of controversy that began when a Darien resident, Melissa Goodridge, wound up with 4 hens and a rooster instead of the 5 hen chicks she thought she was getting.

Her story may be an inspiration to those in other communities who hope to change their local ordinances to allow chickens.

A neighbor called the local alderman to complain about the rooster’s noise, and the local council reacted by considering a ban on all backyard chickens in Darien.

“Darien had no ordinance on chickens, which allowed residents to own chickens without a problem,” Melissa said. “The changeā€¦ was led by the alderman who received one complaint about my rooster.”

Once the ball was rolling, Melissa felt the need to fight because she didn’t want to be the reason all chicken owners in Darien would lose the right to keep their birds.

“I created a change.org petition that created waves in social media, but the local council couldn’t care less,” she recalls. By the time of the ruling, hundreds of people had signed the online petition.

What did get their attention, it seems, were the residents who sent emails to council members about the issue after reading about it on social media.

In addition, “I worked closely with a local politician who would like to remain anonymous. They were a big help in advising me about the logistics of it all,” Melissa said.

“I think the fact that there were so many residents who already had chickens helped. [Council members] knew prohibiting chickens would cause a big issue.”

The new regulations limit the number of hens to six, mandating privacy fences and requiring permits. And, of course, no roosters.

No one here but us girls!