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A. Purpose

The purpose of this section is to authorize and provide standards for the keeping of domesticated chickens. It is intended to enable residents to responsibly keep a small number of female chickens on a noncommercial basis while limiting the potential adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

B. Definitions

Chicken,” “Chicken Coop,” and “Chicken Pen” are defined in Sec. 17.3, Defined Terms.

C. Number and Type of Chickens Allowed

The maximum number of chickens allowed is 10 per lot, regardless of how many dwelling units are on the lot. Only female chickens are allowed. There is no restriction on chicken breeds.

D. Personal Use Only

1. Eggs, chicks, adult chickens, and processed chickens shall not be sold. Chicken manure and compost using chicken manure shall not be sold or otherwise distributed.

2. Produce on which chicken manure from the permitted chickens has been used as fertilizer, or on which compost made with such manure has been used, shall not be sold.

E. Chicken Enclosures

A chicken coop and chicken pen shall be provided. Chickens shall be secured in the chicken coop during non-daylight hours. During daylight hours chickens can be located in the chicken pen and can be located outside of the pen in a securely fenced yard or chicken tractor/portable pen if supervised by an adult person.

F. Construction, Design, and Location for Coop and Pen

1. Location

Notwithstanding the location requirements of paragraph 5.4.1, Accessory Structures, chicken coops shall be located at least 15 feet from any property line or public right-of-way, and chicken pens shall be located at least five feet from any property line or right-of-way.

2. Coop

a. Except as required in paragraph 1, above, the chicken coop shall comply with the requirements of paragraph 5.4.1, Accessory Structures.

b. The coop shall be enclosed with solid material on all sides and have a solid roof and door(s). An existing shed or garage can be used for a coop.

3. Pen

a. The chicken pen shall be constructed of wood or metal posts and wire fencing material.

b. The pen shall be covered with wire, aviary netting, or solid roofing.

G. Maintenance

1. The chicken coop, chicken pen, and surrounding area shall be kept clean, dry, odor-free, and in a neat and sanitary condition at all times.

Commentary: The chicken coop should provide adequate security, ventilation, and shelter from moisture and extremes of temperature. The chicken pen should provide adequate security and sun and shade. Chickens should have access to feed and clean water at all times, and such feed and water shall be inaccessible to rodents, wild birds, and predators. Chickens should be provided adequate bedding in the chicken coop and perches are encouraged.

2. All manure, uneaten feed, and other trash shall be removed in a timely manner and disposed of in a sanitary manner.

3. The requirements of Chapter 70, Utilities, Article V, Stormwater Management and Pollution Control, shall apply. All necessary action to reduce the attraction of predators and rodents and the potential infestation of insects and parasites shall be performed.

4. Slaughter and other processing of chickens shall be conducted in accordance with Small Flock Management Resources guidance provided by the Poultry Science Division of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension/North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Slaughter shall not be visible from any adjacent property, public area, or right-of-way. If a chicken dies from causes other than slaughter, it shall promptly be placed into a plastic bag, which shall be closed securely and disposed of with household waste.

H. Waste Storage and Use

1. No more than two cubic feet of chicken manure shall be stored, for use as unprocessed fertilizer. All other manure shall be disposed of or composted. All stored manure shall be completely contained in a waterproof container.

2. Any compost using chicken manure shall be produced in an enclosed backyard composter.

Commentary: Be aware that unprocessed chicken manure may contain pathogens that can be transmitted to produce on which it is used as fertilizer. A proper mix of materials and maintaining a temperature of at least 131 degrees Fahrenheit for at least three consecutive days is necessary to destroy pathogens in compost.