Local News

Cary council votes against chickens

Posted August 13, 2009

Cary residents are petitioning for a citizens' group to study the issue of backyard chickens in the town, which currently bans the animals.

— The Cary Town Council decided Thursday not to pursue a committee to study whether the town should change an ordinance regarding backyard chickens.

The council voted 4-3 last year against having town staff look into the matter – in effect, keeping a ban in place.

Chickens back on Cary council's agenda Chickens back on Cary council's agenda

Residents with CaryChickens.com, which wants to allow chickens, were petitioning for a citizens' issue advisory committee that would meet for 60 to 90 days to gather information and study the issue, then submit a proposal to the town council to consider.

Alissa Manfre, co-founder of CaryChickens.com, said the group has collected signatures from 350 Cary residents in support of the animals.

"I think there's a lot of stigma and prejudice around the idea of chickens," she said. "People think they're going to be smelly and problematic. When we look at other towns that have done this, and we've done the research, they don't cause many issues at all for animal control."

If council members had voted to form the committee, it would have allow the committee to use town resources, such as staff to coordinate meetings and reserve meeting space.

Within the past two years, Durham and Wake Forest have adopted ordinances allowing the animals; Raleigh and Chapel Hill have always allowed them.

"If this is something that can work in every other community, it should work here as well," Manfre said.

But Town Councilman Don Frantz says most residents from who he's heard do not support allowing chickens because of concerns over property values and the appearances of neighboring yards.

Frantz said he also has concerns about noise, disease and the smell.

"The amount of research I've done on the topic, I have yet to be convinced or have my concerns addressed or alleviated," he said.

Supporters say chickens are beneficial – they provide eggs, reduce insects and provide rich fertilizer. They want to allow only hens in the town to keep noise at a minimum.

Cary resident Justin Crane used to live in Logan, Utah, where he bought a couple hens and let them run around in a fenced backyard. He says they were easy to care for and provided fresh eggs. Owning chickens, he says, allows for sustainability and is environmentally friendly.

"It seems like a no-brainer. Chickens don't bother anybody, and they're less maintenance than other pets," Cary resident Justin Crane said. "As far as the noise, the smell, it's not a problem at all," he said.


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  • slugolicious Aug 14, 2009

    "The amount of research I've done on the topic, I have yet to be convinced or have my concerns addressed or alleviated," Frantz said.

    Care to expound on that Frantz? What kind of "research" did you do, or are you just blowing smoke up our backside to sound good for the news article? All he said was "most residents from who he's heard do not support allowing chickens". I bet that's the extend of your research. Did you talk to anyone that has chickens? Did you speak to anyone from the poultry dept at NC State? Did you discuss it with other towns that allow chickens? Probably not. That might open your eyes and you'd see the benefit of chickens but that would put you in opposition of Mayor McCheese.

  • slugolicious Aug 14, 2009

    If you need dogs or cats, move to the country. If you need fish, move to the beach. What a stupid comment.

  • time4real Aug 14, 2009

    good for the Cary TC! If you need chickens, move to the country!

  • Nunya123 Aug 13, 2009

    What triggered the ban anyways? Were there previous complaints? Was the complaint actively investigated or was this another knee jerk reaction?

  • Mr. French Aug 13, 2009

    I have chickens, live in downtown Raleigh, and am on the Tour de Coop. Let me dispel some myths:

    1. Hens are (normally) NOT noisy. Roosters crow and can be a problem. Hens can get a bit loud after they lay their one egg every 26-27 hours, but that usually only lasts about 2 or 3 minutes. They can also get loud if a predator (dog, hawk, racoon, 'possom, owl, fox) comes along to threaten them.

    2. Chickens are NOT smelly. If an owner NEVER cleans out the coop, you could have a problem. But it would not be nearly as bad as a dog owner not cleaning up after their dog.

    3. Small flocks of chickens do NOT cause disease. Disease is much more prevalent in large, "industrial" chicken farms.

    4. You do NOT have to have a rooster to get eggs. A hen's egg cycle is similar to a woman's menstrual cycle. No males are necessary for either.

    5. Chickens ARE fun, educational, entertaining, a great source of nutricious home-grown food, and teach children responsiblity.

  • slugolicious Aug 13, 2009

    dogs are noisier and smellier than chickens and cary allows those. it's mostly an ignorance thing. those that don't want them don't know anything about them. i agree the opposers should go on the tour d'coup. it was very eye opening, having attended the first time this year.

  • Alexia.1 Aug 13, 2009

    I didn't realize that raising one's own food was illegal. Amazing...

  • rbaff79 Aug 13, 2009

    We live in North Raleigh and recently added a coop to our back yard. We love our chickens (hens and the baby chickens). They are funny and lovable! Might have to give up one of the baby chickens if it turns out to be a rooster though :(
    Anyway all the best to the we-know-it-all Cary Town Council. I am hoping better sense will prevail this time.

  • rbaff79 Aug 13, 2009

    Why are these people talking to people who never had chickens? How about taking the hen'side the beltline tour for a change?
    Seems like Cary only allows chickens in the Town Council.

  • dwntwnboy Aug 13, 2009

    The people that don't like the idea should do the Raleigh Tour D'Coup. It highlights "inner-city" chickens, all inside the beltline, and shows how it can be done. I know of at least 2-3 neighbors of mine- in downtown- that have chickens and are on the Tour year after year, and if it weren't for the very quiet clucking that can only be heard when there is no traffic, I would never know they are there. The amount of noise is minimal and when you do hear them in the distance, I personally find it very soothing and tranquil as opposed to the sounds of sirens and traffic. A nice fresh egg supply never hurts either. LOL