Chickens/Chicken Coops

Please submit the following minimum documentation to the Village of Wadsworth.  The Village will contact you when the completed building permit is ready to be issued.  Please note that incomplete or inaccurate application materials will significantly delay the permitting process.


1. Obtain Lake County Health Department Property Alteration Permit (do this first).  Provide copy to Village;


2. Complete the Village of Wadsworth Application for Building Permit;


3.  Building Plans of Coop/Run  – Two (2) sets of plans.  Include the following minimum requirements:

  • Drawn to scale (preferably at a quarter inch);
  • Submittal of catalog cuts of structure/run, if applicable;  
  • Please also indicate all new electrical installations/improvements, if applicable.


 4.  Site Plan of Installation – Two (2) full-sized plans.  Include the following minimum requirements:

  • A current plat-of-survey of the property may be used (prepared by an Illinois-registered land surveyor); 
  • Coop/run shall be drawn to scale on the site plan;
  • Indicate the location and size of the proposed coop and run, including dimensions and setbacks for the coop and run from other structures on property and from property lines;
  • Show all of the current improvements (that is, buildings, pavements, septic location, fences, etc.) already on the property;
  • Show all of the existing and proposed roadways, ditches, drainage easements, and utilities, where applicable;
  • Show all of the easements and deed restricted areas.


5. If a contractor is used, please submit a Copy of the Contract between you (the property owner) and the contractor.


Note that any review and / or approval of the submitted plans and related documents does not imply that all errors and omissions are noted herein, nor does such a review and / or approval relieve the applicant from adhering to, and complying with, all applicable requirements and regulations found within the Village of Wadsworth’s Building Codes, Zoning Ordinances, and other pertinent codes, requirements, and regulations.   


The keeping of chickens (hens only, no roosters) on single family residential properties (with one principle structure) containing a minimum of 6,000 square feet of lot size is permitted subject to the rules and regulations that are posted below.  The permit requirements for chickens (hens) and their accessory coops/runs are noted at the bottom of this page.  These rules pertain to lot sizes between 6,000 square feet and 199,999 square feet in size.  On residential properties (with one principle structure) greater than 200,000 square feet in size, the keeping of farm animals is permitted subject to the adherence to all applicable Village Building and Zoning Code regulations.


Village Code Regarding Chickens and Chicken Coops (Section 10-5-7-G)

10-5-7-G. Chickens: The keeping of hens, the female of the chicken species, Gallus domesticus, shall be permitted on single family residential properties (with one principle structure) containing a minimum of 6,000 square feet (sq. ft.), subject to the following conditions:

1. Number of hens

a. This table identifies the number of hens allowed per single family residential property:

Minimum Lot Size, Maximum Number of Hens Allowed

6,000 sq. ft. to 42,999 sq. ft., 6
43,000 sq. ft to 79,999 sq. ft., 12
80,000 sq. ft to 199,999 sq. ft., 24

2. Chicken coops and yards

a. All hens shall be provided with a covered inside enclosure and adjacent outside fenced area.

b. Hens shall be kept in the chicken coop or chicken yard at all times.

c. A building permit is required for all enclosures and if applicable, an electrical permit.

d. Electrical service to enclosures and/or shelters shall comply with all Village building and electrical codes, rules and regulations. Under no circumstances shall electrical service be provided to an enclosure and/or shelter by using extension cords or other temporary means.

e. Chicken Coops:

(1) Hens shall be kept in an enclosed outdoor coop, an accessory structure used for the purpose of keeping live chickens, so as to offer protection from weather elements and from predators and trespassers.

(2) Coops shall be built and kept in such a manner, large enough to provide at least four (4) square feet per hen and allow the hens easy ingress and egress to an enclosed chicken yard. Coops shall not exceed eight (8) feet in height.

(3) Coops shall be designed to be predator and pest resistant, and easily accessed for cleaning and maintenance.

(4) Coops shall be covered with uniform materials and shall be maintained intact with all parts secure. Any repairs shall maintain consistency with original structure in appearance and condition. The coop must be replaced, removed, or repaired upon evidence of deterioration.

(5) Exterior lighting shall not continuously illuminate a coop.

f. Chicken Yards:

(1) Coops shall be connected with an enclosed yard or run with a minimum size of eight (8) square feet per chicken. The enclosed yard shall be surrounded by a fence made of wood or metal and of sufficient height to contain the hens.

(2) Hens may be allowed to roam in a fenced backyard, but shall not be allowed to roam outside of the fenced yard. Hens must be returned to the secured chicken coop each night.

(3) Chicken yards constructed with wire mesh fencing shall retain a flat, uniform plane, in a well-maintained, safe condition.

(4) Barbed wire, razor wire or similar fencing materials are prohibited.

g. Location and setbacks

(1) Street Setbacks. Chicken coops and yards shall not be located between the principal building and any improved alley, easement for purposes of ingress or egress, or road right-of-way.

(2) Lot line setback. All enclosures/structures shall be located a minimum of ten (10) feet from all lot lines.

(3) Setback to habitable structures. In addition to setback requirements for accessory structures, chicken coops shall be located a minimum of thirty (30) feet from any existing structures on any adjoining parcel, such as dwellings, non-residential buildings, patios, porches, gazebos, decks, or swimming pools, but not including storage structures such as garages or sheds.

(4) Location. All chickens, chicken coops, and chicken yards shall be kept/located in rear yards only.

3. Prohibitions and management practices

a. Roosters. The keeping of roosters shall not be allowed on any property less than five acres (200,000 square feet) in size.

b. Odors. Chicken coops and yards must be cleaned on a regular basis, so they remain free from undue accumulated waste, such as to cause odors reasonably detectable on adjacent properties.

c. Construction of coops.  Coops shall be enclosed and well-ventilated and hens shall be protected from the weather and predators.

d. Feed. All feed for hens shall, except when placed for consumption by the hens, be kept in containers with tightly fitted lids that are rodent-proof.

e. Maintenance of coops. Coops shall be maintained in good repair and non-dilapidated condition.

f. Slaughter. No outdoor slaughter of chickens shall be allowed, and any slaughtering or related processing must be conducted in a humane and sanitary manner.

g. Sales. No sales of eggs or hens shall be allowed.

h. Other types of animals. No other poultry, including but not limited to geese, ducks and turkeys shall be kept on the property.

i. Disposal of Waste and Deceased Hens. All waste and deceased hens must be disposed of in a sanitary manner.

j. Hen Health. Hen health must be maintained with proper feed and water.

k. Breeding prohibited. The breeding of chickens on-site is expressly prohibited.

l. Animal cruelty. Animal cruelty laws pertain to hens.

m. Laws, rules and regulations. All persons maintaining hen facilities shall comply with all local, county, state and federal laws, rules and regulations pertaining to maintaining and keeping hens.


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