Backyard Chicken Workshop Feb. 13 at Garfield Farm Museum

Backyard Chicken Workshop Feb. 13 at Garfield Farm Museum

Three chickens in the yard pecking crumbs of bread.

Ever thought about raising chickens in your back yard?

If you have, and if you live in the city or village limits of any Kane County community, be sure to check your local ordinances before you do. Some of the guidelines for poultry and fowl in unincorporated are included at the end of this article.

Assuming all is copacetic with your ordinances and neighbors, you can learn more about the next steps at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, at Garfield Farm Museum, where GMF hosts an afternoon session on “raising a small flock of backyard chickens.” The workshop will serve as a basic introduction to starting one’s own flock.

Dave Bauer, special projects manager and director of the chicken breeding program at Garfield Farm Museum, and his apprentice, museum volunteer Samira Bamberger, will provide instruction.

During the workshop, attendees will learn about chicken care, breed selection, incubation choices and more. The lecture will also cover a brief history of chickens, egg collection, and hands-on participation to learn how to handle birds. There is a $6 donation for the class. Reservations are preferred and can be made by contacting the museum at 630-584-8485 or

The museum established a conservation flock for the Black Java chicken in 1996 and has been partnering with the Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago to help preserve this valuable genetic resource. The Black Java is the second-oldest breed of American chicken, with its origin going back to the 1830s.

“It is thus an appropriate breed for the 1840s setting of Garfield Farm Museum,” GFM said in a news release.

The oldest breed, the Dominique, was crossed with the Black Java to develop the Plymouth Barred Rock. From this was derived the White Rock, which today is crossed with Cornish chickens to produce the fast-growing, meat-producing White Rock Cornish Cross found in stores today.

Participants should dress for the weather and wear appropriate foot gear for winter conditions.

SOURCE: Garfield Farm Museum news release

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About Garfield Farm Museum

Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL, off of Illinois Route 38 on Garfield Road. Garfield Farm is a former historically
intact 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn that is being restored as a working 1840s farm. For more information, visit the Garfield Farm website or Facebook page.

Kane County Rules for Poultry and Fowl

Municipalities have their own ordinance regarding poultry and fowl, but if you live in unincorporated Kane County, here are some of the rules:

  • Poultry and fowl are permitted in the F, F-1, E-1, E-2, E-2A, E-3, and R-1 districts.

Lot Size Requirements

  • F and F-1 District:  No minimum lot size.
  • E and R Districts:  Minimum of 1 acre

Setbacks Applying to All Districts

  • Animals may not be housed and/or yarded within 100 feet of any neighboring residence.
  • Animals may not be housed within 15 feet of the property line adjacent to residences, schools, hospitals, public buildings, playgrounds, parks and other places, if said animals create sanitary or health problems to persons or property in close proximity to them.


  • Building permits are required for any structures used to house the animals.
  • Properties 5 acres or greater are eligible for an agricultural exemption permit.
  • All other properties required the residentially accessory permit.

SOURCE: Kane County Development Department PDF