Local News

Backyard hen ban flies the coop in Cary

Posted September 9, 2012
Updated September 10, 2012

— The Town of Cary lifted its longtime ban on backyard hens two weeks ago, a move that has one family clucking with joy.

Michael and Alissa Manfre ruffled some feathers when they began petitioning Cary's town council to allow backyard hens four years ago. Now, they're finally building a chicken coop for three baby hens. 

It will be a few more months before the Manfres' chickens start producing eggs, and for a family that typically buys about two dozen eggs per week, it can't come soon enough.

"We're really looking forward to (the eggs)," said Michael Manfre. "It's not so much about the cost savings as knowing where your food comes from."

"Our highest-producing chickens will do five (eggs) a week. The others will do more like four," said Alissa Manfre.

The Manfres are one of five families in Cary who have applied for a license to keep backyard hens since the town passed a ordinance allowing it.

The ordinance prohibits roosters, free-range hens and on-site slaughter and allows up to five hens only on single-family lots 6,000 square feet or larger. Chicken keepers must register with the town and pay a one-time fee of $50.

Backyard chickens Chickens allowed to roost in Cary

Homeowners associations can override the ordinance and prohibit chickens in their neighborhoods.

Some residents voiced concerns about the noise and smell associated with backyard chicken coops at several council meetings discussing the proposed ordinance, but Alissa Manfre said she was confident her coop will not be a nuisance.

"I think the ordinance that ended up being passed is a really good compromise between what we really wanted for people who keep chickens and also allaying any concerns of people who are going to be neighbors to chickens," said Alissa Manfre. "Hopefully, people will see this isn't a big deal, and it doesn't cause problems, and everyone will just calm down."

Raleigh, Wake Forest, Durham and Chapel Hill also allow residents to keep chickens in their yards.


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  • Lightfoot3 Sep 11, 2012

    "Typical Romney voter - Can't be bothered to actually read a short article or look at pesky facts (Says right in the article that roosters are NOT allowed) but quick to spout paranoid delusions about Obama." - Pepe Silvia

    Checkmate! :)

  • GALNC Sep 11, 2012

    All the Cary HOA's will probably have a amendment to prevent chicken coops by weeks end.

  • GravyPig Sep 10, 2012


    I know right?!?!? It's good that you agree that this is a win win for everyone. Awesome!!

  • delilahk2000 Sep 10, 2012


  • Obamacare again Sep 10, 2012

    A man was driving along a freeway when he noticed a chicken running alongside his car. He was amazed to see the chicken keeping up with him, as he was doing 50 mph. He accelerated to 60, and the chicken stayed right next to him. He sped up to 75 mph, and the chicken passed him. The man noticed that the chicken had three legs. So he followed the chicken down a road and ended up at a farm. He got out of his car and saw that all the chickens had three legs. He asked the farmer, "What's up with these chickens?" The farmer said "Well, everybody likes chicken legs, so I bred a three-legged bird. I'm going to be a millionaire." The man asked him how they tasted. The farmer said, "Don't know, haven't caught one yet."

  • Carrboro-resident Sep 10, 2012

    "It's not so much about the cost savings as knowing where your food comes from."

    Unless you are rescuing your hens from the animal shelter (yes, they do turn up there) or worse, the dead pile at a stockyard, you are still contributing to factory farming by purchasing mail order chicks (that's where most backyard chickens come from). Hatcheries have use for only the female chicks and the males are just byproducts of the industry. For every little girl chick you order, there's a baby boy (nobody wants roosters, right?) that's "disposed of" (Google it). They're not even used for meat because the lineage of egg laying chickens is different from the lineage of broiler chickens. If you want chickens, fine, but just think about the kind of place you're supporting by ordering chicks in the mail. Adopt, don't shop!

  • Pepe Silvia Sep 10, 2012

    "When the roosters start crowing at 2 am this will change back quick enough. Of course if Obama is reelected, everyone within a few years, will have to raise their own chickens for food or face starvation."
    - sweetsea2

    Typical Romney voter - Can't be bothered to actually read a short article or look at pesky facts (Says right in the article that roosters are NOT allowed) but quick to spout paranoid delusions about Obama.

  • TWANGnBANG Sep 10, 2012

    This just in... hens are now fine in Cary as long as they are beige.

  • Zorg Sep 10, 2012

    They've had backyard hens in Cary for years - holding glasses of Chardonnay and gossiping across the fences.

  • ladyblue Sep 10, 2012

    It must be nice to know the only concerns cary has is who get a few chickens for their back yard, I could understand not wanting to live next door to a crowing rooster but a few hens. Come on now they don't smell,nor crow nor run loose to bite people . Give me a few chickens any day than a barking dog or cat doing it's business in my flower garden.. It's not like they are going to turn their whole back yard into a chicken pen. I imagine now they'll hire someone new to handle those annual fees that will likely cost the town more than the fees brought in. LOL