The Birds (Chickens) and the Bees

By Melanie Weiss At the June 20 Oak Park Village Board Meeting, the board voted 6-1 to lift the village’s longstanding ban on beekeeping.

KC Poulos, Sustainability Manager for the Village, said village staff will now draft a beekeeping ordinance to present to the village board for their final approval. She expects the ordinance will come before the board in the fall.

The village does have an ordinance that allows the keeping of chickens, and recently there has been a resurgent interest among residents in housing chickens in their backyards.

Oak Park Farmers’ Market Manager Meredith Conn has a backyard chicken coop with two chickens, Esmeralda and Rhubarb. She said the chickens lay an egg every day and are “easy and fun to watch.” She did caution that they like to dig up her backyard plantings so she recently restricted them from roaming freely in the whole backyard.

Conn noted that two of her neighbors are also raising chickens and she knows another handful of Oak Parkers getting their eggs fresh from the chicken coops they have in their backyards!

One Oak Parker has even made this her business -- and business is booming!  Jennifer Murtoff, of Home to Roost Urban Chicken Consulting, offers information and advice on raising chickens in an urban environment. She can be reached through her website:

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