chickenIt’s hard to say whether tighter financial circumstances or a keener awareness of the origins of our food, or maybe both, are the cause, but backyard chicken coops are springing up in neighborhoods across the country. Here in Elmhurst it’s no different – the most recent City Council meeting had the issue on its agenda.

Keeping chickens for household use is not a new idea. Many of our parents and grandparents probably kept a few “girls” for egg production and insect control not to mention the occasional chicken dinner. After World War II and the suburban neighborhood boom, backyard poultry production fell off dramatically, and chickens became a mainstay of the factory-farming model we developed to feed our growing population.

Recently it's become quite chic to keep your own chickens. In the spring of 2010 Martha Stewart devoted an entire episode of her show to the hobby (see a clip of it here), and now includes backyard chicken accessories in her Martha Stewart Pets line. Gourmet cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma recently launched its Agrarian division devoted to home food production that incorporates an entire section on raising chickens including high-end chicken coops ranging in price from $500-$700. By the way, their online catalog includes links at the bottom of the coops page to WS recipes and cookware devoted to chickens.

Nostalgia, fashion, and marketing aside, raising chickens in suburban and urban backyards has implications on any number of levels. Done well, it’s a humane way to supplement a family’s diet as well as an excellent introduction for children to raising and caring for animals. Done poorly, however, it can quickly become a noisy, smelly, and potentially unhealthy intrusion into the neighborhood. Not surprisingly, this can also have an impact on real estate values

More and more city councils across the country are facing these questions and are determining where to draw the lines of acceptable backyard activity. Typically there are ordinances controlling the number of chickens allowed as well as the placement of coops, the keeping of roosters, and so forth. Elmhurst has referred its chicken question to the Development, Planning and Zoning Committee for consideration. We’ll be following its progress, and keeping you up to date as well.

Elmhurst is a vibrant, forward-thinking community, and the perfect place to make your real estate investment. The Gracik Makinney Real Estate Group is here to help. With community knowledge, industry experience, and personal dedication, our team is the best place to start on the road to your home ownership dreams. Contact us today at 540 South York St. in Elmhurst, or at (630) 567-5902.