You Can Now Count Your Chickens, Legally, In DuPage County

Residents of unincorporated areas can now own a limited number of the livestock.
Chickens DuPage County
The Grussenmeyer family of Wheaton looks forward to having chickens again. Photo credit Melanie Grussenmeyer

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Residents of unincorporated DuPage County can now do something that they couldn’t before: own live chickens to produce eggs.

Melanie Grussenmeyer was one of the people who led the effort to make it legal.

The unincorporated Wheaton resident and her family had to get rid of chickens from their half-acre property because some neighbors complained. Her two sons and one daughter were broken-hearted when that happened, she said Friday.

"When we did have them, it was awesome,” she said. “They loved, you know, to go out and check for eggs."

Several hundred DuPage County residents and hundreds of others from outside the county had signed an online petition at change.org to push for the change.

Grussenmeyer also found an ally in DuPage County Board Member Sheila Rutledge.

"I always thought it was kind of silly you could have a horse, but you couldn’t have chickens,” Rutledge said.

She helped pushed through the ordinance late last month. The issue had been up and down for discussion for more than 25 years.

"In the midst of pandemic, I thought that it was important to give people the opportunity to put protein right in their own backyard,” Rutledge said.

Under the new law, residents may own up to five chickens but no roosters and they must have a coop and a fence for them, she said. Residents will need to get permits for the coop and the fence.

Grussenmeyer says chickens are not noisy. She says their clucking is at the same decibel level of a barking dog or of normal human conversation.

She said she intends to get five new chicks next spring.