Legalize Backyard Hens in Palatine, IL

Dear Elected City Officials,

We are requesting your approval to grant us, residents of the Village of Palatine, the ability to raise hens on our property such as other local cities including Chicago, Deerfield, Highland Park, Oak Park, Evanston, Elgin, Brookfield, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, and Naperville.

We are asking for 2 to 8 hens per household (no roosters) for the following reasons:

- Chickens are fun, friendly pets that offer educational value for children about where food such as eggs comes from
-Their eggs provide food security for families and those wanting more sustainable food options
-They lay healthier eggs compared to store-bought eggs
-They give gardeners high-quality fertilizer
-They control insects and other pests and can help to dispose of weeds and kitchen scraps

To address some myths regarding backyard hens:

Noise: The requested ordinance would only allow hens, not roosters. Hen's are not noisy. Hens cluck and peep softly all day long, and then go to bed at dusk and remain quiet all night. A hen's cluck at its loudest is the same as a human conversation. Measurably quieter than a dog's bark, lawnmowers, jet planes, and fireworks.

Smell: A 40-pound dog creates .75 pounds of waste a day (imagine 2 red apples) while a single hen produces only .125 pounds of waste a day (imagine 7 cherries). While chicken waste makes for excellent fertilizer, dog waste is unusable. The ordinance would require chickens to be kept in a “secure, well-maintained coop," ensuring a clean environment as well as security from predators. Just like any pet, smells are not an issue with regular care and cleaning.

Predators: Wild Predators are already living in urban areas and are not any more attracted to chickens than they are to rabbits, squirrels, and other small animals. Wild bird feeders, pet food, gardens, fish ponds, bird baths and trash waiting to be collected all attract raccoons, foxes, rodents and flies. Modern micro-flocks are valued by their owners and are kept in a variety of covered, predator-proof structures that eliminate concerns about predators, rodents and other pests. Chicken owners don't want to lose their flock and will go to great lengths to build predator proof structures to ensure they are protected.

Property values: The bottom line is that there has NEVER been one documented case of property values dropping because of a family flock of chickens. On the contrary, some home sellers and developers — as a sales incentive are advertising homes with build-in coops. Baird & Warner received enough requests from homeowners interested in raising chickens that in in 2018 they launched a campaign "We get you" designed to communicate to the Chicago area that the realty company really gets what homebuyers want these days - including backyard chicken coops.

Disease: "Chickens don’t carry any more risk of disease than a dog or cat. In fact, they love to eat ticks and other pesky critters known to transmit diseases like Lyme disease, tapeworm and heartworm,” Steele explains. Small flocks have literally no risk of avian flu transmission to humans. Centers for Disease Control states on their website: “There is no need at present to remove a family flock of chickens because of concerns regarding avian flu.” The 2006 Grain Report states: “When it comes to bird flu, diverse small-scale poultry is the solution, not the problem.”

With regard to salmonella, chickens, like other common household pets—including dogs, turtles, and caged birds—can carry salmonella. For this reason, the CDC counsels that people should wash their hands after touching poultry, should supervise young children around poultry, and make sure that young children wash their hands after touching chicks or other live poultry. Therefore it is a food-handling sanitation problem, not an avian problem. Statistically according to the CDC, you have a .0002% chance of getting salmonella from hens. (Based on 795 verified cases per a US population of 327 million people)

Thank you for considering our request.
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