ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Inflation, shortages of common groceries like eggs, and concerns of animal welfare all have Americans considering the benefits of owning their own livestock.

Chicken ownership surged during the pandemic, and goats are becoming more popular as well; but is it legal to own farm animals in Illinois? Can a suburban backyard become your own miniature farm?

Before you think about becoming Old MacDonald, you’ll want to check your town’s ordinances. There is no Illinois state law restricting the raising of livestock, but individual towns may have their own regulations.

For example, while Chicago is the only large urban area in the country that never explicitly outlawed the rearing of farm animals, a Batavia ordinance outlaws the keeping of “horses, ponies, mules, cattle, sheep, goats, fowl and poultry other than eight (8) domestic hens, or swine within the City limits at a distance less than two hundred feet (200′) from any residence.”

Beyond local ordinances, you might want to consider the size of your backyard before investing in livestock. One goat needs at least 200 square feet of grazing space, and a cow requires a whopping 1-2 acres.