Cary, N.C. — 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.
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.