Backyard Chicken Keeping
Backyard Chickens

The city of Elgin recently completed a one-year pilot program allowing 15 Elgin residences to keep backyard chickens. Click here to view the pilot program's results.

On February 24, 2016 the Elgin City Council voted to make the backyard chicken regulations permanent. In addition to the fifteen residences that participated in the pilot program, city council authorized up to ten more chicken licenses to be issued in 2016.

Apply for a license. Click here to submit a license application. This is a free online application, and it does not commit you keeping chickens. This application’s purpose is to give all those that wish to keep chickens a chance to apply. 

At this time there are no available chicken keeping licenses. However, interested residents are still encouraged to apply. During the year if license holders are not able to complete their coops or move, licenses can become available. When you apply for a license, your name will be added to the waitlist. The waitlist is addressed in the order applications are received

Once a license is allocated residents will work with community development staff to make sure your property meets the minimum requirements. You will also be required to submit plans for your coop, build and obtain a final coop inspection prior to being issued a chicken license.

As a reminder, NO residences, outside of addresses with chicken licenses are allowed to keep chickens. 

Regulation Summary

  • A valid chicken license must be issued prior to purchasing chicken
  • A building permit must be obtained prior to constructing a chicken coop or enclosure and final building inspection approval is required prior to obtaining a chicken license
  • Baby chicks can be kept indoors until they are fully-feathered (up to 8 weeks)
  • Maximum of four chickens
  • Roosters prohibited
  • Slaughtering of chickens prohibited
  • Chickens must always be contained within a coop or enclosure
  • Chicken tractors (screened mobile pens) are permitted
  • Chicken coops must be at least 25 feet from your neighbors and not visible from the street
  • Coops can be up to 50 square feet, chicken runs or enclosures can be up to 100 square feet

Additional information:

Please follow the guidelines in the chicken coop building handout.

There is a $65 permit application fee and a one-time $30 license fee, both paid at the time that the permit and license are issued.

If electricity is to be used in the chicken coop for any reason an electrical permit and inspection are required. An electrical permit application fee is $65.

Questions? Dial 3-1-1 to speak with a citizen advocate.