It appears likely that more than 100 chickens are now living within the South Bend city limits.
In January of 2013, the South Bend Common Council passed an urban chicken ordinance that legalized backyard birds. The ordinance actually took effect March 1st. To date, 19 separate chicken licenses have been granted. Each license allows up to six birds per household placing the potential maximum poultry population at 114.
“When the city said we can have urban chickens, that was right up my alley,” said John Lenoir who raises Rhode Island Reds in the back yard of his Elwood Street home.
The coup Lenoir built so-far exceeds the city’s requirements for such structures; it more closely resembles a henhouse Hilton. “It has two exhaust fans, one pull in and one suck out, It has the window of course, it has the lighting in it, it has the heat in it,” said Lenoir.
Lenoir says he has not had a single complaint since he brought the birds home in May. “Neighbors haven’t said anything. They just call me farmer John and then like what they see and when they run out of eggs they say, ‘John, you got any eggs, most certainly.’”
Meantime, in the 800 block of Lindsey, Susan Greutman today took steps to calm the nerves of the birds that now live in her back yard.
“We put a little tarp over half of the run, now I’ve read and I don’t know if this is true because this is my first time at it, but we’ve read that chickens can be afraid of snow the first time they see it,” said Greutman.
Greutman now has five young boys who apparently make more noise than their new feathered friends, as far as neighbors are concerned. “You know we’ve not had any complaints (about the birds) yet.”
Greutman sees the chickens as a chance to teach her children where food comes from. “Children really lose touch from where things come from because you just go down to the supermarket and you pick up a can of something or a box of something and sometimes you don't even know what's inside it or where those things came from. Whether they're actually real food of whether it’s from a chemistry lab somewhere.”
City records obtained by NewsCenter 16 through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that chicken permits have been issued to homeowners from Milton to Madison; from Elwood to Ostemo; from Greenlawn to St. Louis.