Winston-Salem city residents could have four to six chickens in their backyards without needing special permits if the Winston-Salem City Council agrees to guidelines that city inspectors are likely to propose in August.
The city’s inspections department is researching how other cities and towns around North Carolina handle chickens in residential backyards. the council’s Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee had planned to hear the department’s recommendations on July 10. Council member Dan Besse, the chairman of that committee, said that hearing has been postponed to Aug. 14.
“The recommendations are not quite ready yet,” Besse said.
Charlie Norton, director of the city’s inspections department, said that he is likely to recommend the council allow residents to have between four and six chickens in backyards. currently, residents can only have chickens in their yards if the chickens’ coop is 150 feet from each neighboring property line.
“We went back and looked at the cases that we had dealt with over the last couple of years and came up with some averages from all of those cases,” Norton said. “And the averages came up to six (chickens per yard).”
City inspectors also plan to make recommendations about standards for chicken coops and runs and setbacks from neighboring property lines, Norton said. He said he intends to recommend that the council ban roosters from backyards.
Some cities and towns in North Carolina that allow backyard chickens have laws about whether or not those birds can be slaughtered. Norton said he intends to recommend that slaughter be allowed in Winston-Salem.
“The recommendation would be to allow it under some limitations of where it’s done on the property,” he said. “It couldn’t be done where it’s visible from any adjoining property or the right of way, and it has to be done in a sanitary manner and the waste disposed of.”
The recommendations could, if the council approves them, change the Winston-Salem city ordinance that governs livestock.