Backyard Chickens in Wake Forest

Published on October 7, 2017

An animal ordinance in Wake Forest has some people in the town crying fowl. They want to make it easier to legally raise chickens in their backyards.

Emily Cole, a Wake Forest resident, was interested in creating a small backyard chicken coop, but she was frustrated when she was unable to receive a permit to do so.

Because chickens are considered livestock under town ordinances, you can not raise them in town limits without the written consent of every homeowner within 500 feet of your residence.

Cole said she was heartbroken when she did not get the full support of her neighbors.

Neighbor Scott Tarkenton said, “Not in the middle of front yards and running around in people’s neighborhoods. I think they should stick to the farms.”

But Cole has not given up her resolve to have fresh eggs from her own yard.

“My next step, since I can’t convince the neighbors, is to try to convince the town to change the ordinance,” she said.

She has since written a petition for residents to sign, if they’d like to see the town ordinance rewritten.

“Chickens should be able to be in someone’s backyard, just the way a cat or a dog would be,” Cole argued.

David Bissett, who legally raises chickens within town limits on Main Street, said he supports Cole’s efforts.

He said, he and his family view the chickens as pets, but also use them for fresh eggs, to reduce the insect population in their yard, and to help provide natural fertilizer for the family’s vegetable gardens.

“I wanted my children to be able to experience the same kind of joy from chickens that I had as a kid,” Bissette said.