There’s a move around the country to bring chickens back to urban environments and the town of Smithfield is the latest community in the Triangle to be asked to allow poultry to be kept in backyards.
“I’ve got a number of children here and they don’t connect that egg, bacon or whatever’s on their plate to where it came from,” said urban chicken advocate David Auge.
Currently keeping chickens like these in Smithfield is illegal, but David is asking the town to change that rule.
For David and his family, backyard chickens are part of a broader goal which includes going greener and sustainability.
The Auge family backyard features both vegetable and flower gardens that are fertilized with composted waste, and irrigated with water collected in rain barrels.
David thinks keeping chickens fits that ecological niche nicely.
Other communities in the Triangle like Cary and Chapel Hill allow backyard chickens, but some Smithfield leaders have doubts they could enforce the rules regarding chickens in their town.
“we have one animal control person and its hard to keep up with our animal problems and to add urban chickens to that list would be somewhat overpowering,” explains Mayor Daniel Evans jr.
David Auge says his poultry would be kept in a movable coop known as a chicken ark.
“what you have in the ark is a completely confined structure that will keep them predators; keep them in the back yard and limit the number of chickens to eight,” says David.
“They’re not as loud as dogs and don’t make as much waste so I’m confused as to why people would throw fits about having chickens,” said David’s 16-year-old daughter Jessie.
David sent a letter of explanation to his neighbors about his plans and says he got no objections.
But, town officials say they’re still worried about the nuisance factor.
“the idea of urban chickens coming back has brought a lot of issues to the forefront; the noise, the smell and the other things about having chicken in the corporate limits,” said Mayor Evans.
Back in April the planning board recommended that urban chickens be allowed in Smithfield, but the final word is up to the town council and it will make that decision at its June 5th meeting.