Urban Chickens in Chicago

Did you catch the backyard chicken segment on Chicago Tonight? Rich Samuels profiles four people in the Chicago area that keep backyard chickens. Linda Nellett Northwest side of Chicago, Juliet Martinez, Southwest side of Chicago, Helen Standen of OakPark and Laurie Zoloth  of Evanston.

Laurie Zoloth, bioethicist at Northwestern University, is currently violating Evanston’s ordinance by keeping chickens in her backyard and is working to change the ordinance so Evanston residents can keep chickens. For the record; it is legal to keep chickens within Chicago, and a family down the street from me seem to keep chickens and roosters.

What struck me about the segment was the condition of the backyard Professor Zoloth’s chickens live in compared to the backyards, gardens really, of Linda Nellett and Helen Standen. From what the camera shows, it looks like nothing but a plot of dirt and I have to wonder: why bother keeping chickens, who are suppose to be smart animals, in such a bleak environment? It looks slightly more enriching an environment for hens than a factory poultry farm.

When I was a kid we had chickens and ducks and at a young age I was able to understand that due to the conditions of our backyard was in it wasn’t really the best place for them.

The feed store profiled in the segment where you can buy chicks is located at 5408 South Harlem Avenue Summit, IL 60501. Ph: 708.458.1327


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  • The Feed Store is a great place-- also the best, if not ONLY place in the Chicago area, where you can get lots of different kinds of clover seed, great for a healthy lawn. (Which, hey, MBT, how about a lawn post?)

  • In reply to naxn:

    I think I've done two but now they'll have to wait until spring since we're into fall. But I'll see what I can do. BTW, I don't have much of a lawn, I have a lot of clover--which I'd like to expand--so thanks for letting me know about the seeds.

  • In reply to naxn:

    You can legally keep chickens in Ann Arbor (the ordinance was changed not too long ago; maybe the Evanston woman may want to try to connect with someone from A2 in how it was done here). I don't have chickens myself, but here's a URL that might be handy: http://www.a2citychickens.com/.

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