There’s lots of wildlife in Riverside – coyotes, foxes, raccoons, deer. Just part of living near a river and forest preserves. Riversiders expect them.
Chickens? Now that’s another matter. Unless it escaped from the Children’s Zoo at Brookfield Zoo and crossed First Avenue (getting to the other side of that highway is a dangerous proposition, indeed), there’s someone in Riverside – on Uvedale Road, specifically – raising chickens, or at least one chicken.
That’s because a chicken flew the coop on Aug. 26 and ended up in the driveway of the Faust home in the 300 block of Uvedale Road. The Fausts operate a graphic design studio from their 1950s-era ranch house and were expecting to meet a client at 11 a.m.
“Right when they came in, they asked, ‘Did you know there was a chicken in the driveway?'” said Dave Pabellon, a graphic designer for Faust Design.
Everyone went outside to find the brown hen in the driveway. They were able to coax it into the backyard before calling police. By the time an officer arrived, however, the chicken had scampered away. Police left the scene without their prey, but the chicken reappeared about an hour later, Pabellon said.
“We tried to lure it into a cage, but we were unsuccessful,” Pabellon said. Asked where the chicken, which the Faust Design crew nicknamed “Jeanine,” might have come from, Pabellon said, “I have no clue.”
While certainly rare, chickens have been known to roam Riverside’s streets. In 2009, said Riverside detective Sgt. David Krull, “We had one near Lionel and Miller. It kept getting out all the time. And last fall we had a wild chicken running around by Zoo Woods [along First Avenue].”
Another rumor in town is that someone may be raising chickens in a backyard on East Quincy Street, although that hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Oh, and in case you wanted to know, it is officially illegal to house chickens within the village of Riverside.
According to Title 2, Chapter 6, Section 1 of the village code: “No person shall keep, possess or maintain any horse, mule, ox, cow, sheep, swine, goat, turkey, chickens, pigeons, bees, coyote, fox, poisonous reptile or other wild, dangerous, vicious or untamed animal upon any premises, other than a zoological park, situated within this village.”
Village Manager Peter Scalera said the chicken sighting was a first for him in Riverside and said he doesn’t know of anyone keeping chickens in the village. He did, however, have someone approach him about the possibility of doing so late last year.
“I did have a call from someone interested in putting in a chicken coop,” he said. “But because our ordinance doesn’t allow it, I asked them to reach out to the board.”
Scalera said he hasn’t heard if that suggestion went anywhere.