Where in North Carolina Can You Have Backyard Chickens?


Keeping chickens in the backyard is becoming increasingly popular in North Carolina as many residents are escaping the middleman to get eggs directly from the source. In February 2023, the average cost of a dozen eggs reached $6 in The Tar Heel State. As a result, many people are considering backyard chickens, which not only bless you with fresh eggs but also make an excellent addition to your property. However, the issue is whether having backyard chickens is permitted in your city or town. Based on my research, many cities in North Carolina allow chickens under certain regulations, which vary by city.

In the city of High Point, for example, residents are permitted to have a maximum of five backyard chickens per residence. However, roosters are prohibited in the city of High Point.

backyard chicken in North Carolina

Every North Carolina city wherein chickens are allowed has their local rules relating to zoning restrictions, coop/pen size, sanitation, and proximity to residences and roads. Moreover, Landlords and home owner's associations may not allow chickens on their properties even though your city or town permits it. With that in mind, below are some North Carolina cities and towns in which backyard chickens are permitted.

Fun fact: How many chickens are there in North Carolina? According to statistics from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), North Carolina is home to over 500 million chickens.

Wake County, NC

In Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, both hens and roosters are permitted without permits and there is no limit to the number of chickens a resident can keep. Backyard chickens are allowed in the town of Apex with no permit required. The town of Holly Springs allows three hens, which must be enclosed in a coop or pen. However, Holly Springs residents must obtain a Planning and Zoning permit to keep hens.

The town of Garner allows eight chickens, excluding roosters, with a permit. A permit is required to have a maximum of five backyard chickens in the town of Fuquay-VarinaMorrisville residents do not need a permit to have backyard chickens. The town of Knightdale allows up to five hens per lot.

Mecklenburg County, NC

In the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC, chickens are legal to keep with a permit. However, Animal Care and Control Officers will inspect the premises to ensure that the chickens are a minimum distance from the property line before a permit is issued. Similar regulations are in place in the town of Matthews. The town of Huntersville does not allow chickens. The towns of Pineville and Mint Hill allow backyard chickens with no permit required.

Guilford County, NC

In the city of Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina, 4 to 20 chickens are allowed depending on property size. Four chickens are permitted on properties of up to 12,000 square feet and twenty on those larger. However, chickens are not allowed to roam at large in Greensboro. A maximum number of 10 chickens, excluding roosters, are allowed on lots between 3-5 acres in the town of Oak Ridge. More than 10 chickens including roosters are permitted on properties greater than 5 acres in areas zoned for agriculture in the town of Oak Ridge.

Forsyth County, NC

In Forsyth County, the city of Winston-Salem allows its residents to have up to five backyard chickens, excluding roosters. Chickens coops must be at least 20 feet away from any adjoining property line in the city of Winston-Salem.

Cumberland County, NC

In the city of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, NC, residents can have up to 10 backyard chickens, excluding roosters. The town of Fort Bragg permits up to ten chickens including roosters.

Durham County, NC

The city of Durham allows a maximum number of 10 chickens per lot with no permit required, regardless of how many dwelling units are on the lot. Roosters are not permitted in the city of Durham. Furthermore, Durham does not have restrictions on chicken breeds. Eggs shall be for personal use only and chickens are allowed to roam free in securely fenced yards.

Buncombe County, NC

The City of Asheville in Buncombe County, NC, allows the keeping of backyard chickens with an animal permit. Residents can contact the Animal Services office at 828-259-5872 to request the application by mail or visit the city's website to apply online.

There are many benefits to having backyard chickens including enjoying 300 fresh eggs per chicken a year. Moreover, there are thirty-three percent more vitamin A, twenty-five percent more vitamin E, and seventy-five percent more beta carotene in backyard eggs.


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