Policy Summary

Article 5.4.12 of the Durham Unified Development Ordinance allows Durham residents to obtain permits to keep domestic chickens as an accessory use of property as long as they meet certain conditions and follow the required standards. Residents may keep up to ten female chickens, and only for personal use. The ordinance regulates how coops must be constructed, distance from the property line, composting of chicken manure and use of the compost.

Background Information

State North Carolina
Jurisdiction Name Durham
Jurisdiction Type City, County,
Population Size 200,000-800,000
Legal Strategies
  • Requires something, sets standards
  • Expressly allows something
Reach Community-wide
Food System Category Grow; Get;
Evidence for Health

This policy may correspond to diet-related strategies identified by the County Health Rankings’ What Works for Health tool, including:

For research on the potential effectiveness, please review the category links above.

We understand that this information is not comprehensive. It also does not include other important forms of evidence such as community members’ lived experiences and practice-based evidence.

Policy Details

Refers to priority populations?

Health-related goal?

"Uses authorized under a Limited Agriculture Permit shall not create a detriment to public health or safety" (Sec. 5.4.12(A)(5)).

Environmental goal?

Economic goal?

Includes findings?

Has a stated intent or 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 non‐commercial basis while limiting the potential adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhood." (Sec. 5.4.12 (B)).

Includes definitions?

"'Chicken', 'Chicken Coop', and 'Chicken Pen' are defined in Sec. 17.3, Defined Terms" (Sec. 5.4.12(B)(2)).

Addresses implementation?

Enforcement provisions?

Permit Revocation and Removal of Item (Sec. 5.4.12(A)(2))

Evaluation component?

Requires extra investment?

Code context and ordinance history

Durham Unified Development Ordinance, Article 5 (Use Regulations), section 5.4 (Accessory Uses and Structures), 5.4.12 Limited Agriculture (City Only).


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