Looking for something fun to do this weekend? If you like chickens or are thinking about raising them yourself, check out the Fifth Annual Hen-side the Beltline Tour d’Coop in Raleigh, NC on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Sponsored by Whole Foods, visitors buy tickets to tour 20 chicken coops in the Raleigh area. Each coop is unique in design, and you may see some exotic hens!
Raising chickens at home is becoming increasingly popular as the local food movement grows. If you’re interested in raising chickens on your own, it’s legal in Charlotte as long as:
- You have a livestock permit from Char-Meck animal control ($40)
- You have approval from your neighbor
- You follow the rules about number of birds and the placement of their coop. For example, the coop must be at least 18 inches in height, each chicken must have 4 square feet of floor space, and you must not have more than 20 fowl per acre.
Please see section 3-102 of the Charlotte ordinances for further details. If you live outside the city of Charlotte, check www.municode.com for ordinances for your city. You may have to search for the animal permits section. Oh, and don’t forget to check with your HOA – some may have rules about this.
If you decide you want to be able to have a supply of really fresh eggs every day, Renfrow Hardware does a brisk business in baby chicks ($3 each) and also sells the feed, feeders and waterers you’ll need to raise your flock. Three or four hens should provide enough eggs for a family of four from February to November. Each one lays on a schedule of approximately one egg per day, depending on breed and size. Production will slow as the days get shorter, and there is less light. It is best to get more than one chicken because the animals are social and will keep each other company.
Some sites I like for chicken advice:
Yes, I’ve definitely done the homework, but alas, I have no chickens…yet. But perhaps someday you’ll come up my drive and have to wait for my chickens to cross.