Yes To Urban Chickens


chicken-logo_centeredEggs are my favorite food. Versatile, delicious, and elegant, the humble egg is sold on store shelves for anywhere from $1.30 to $4 a dozen depending on whether you like your hens cage free and hormone free. I do. If you’ve ever tasted a farm fresh egg, you know that it’s superior to store bought. There are a lot of Asheville’s citizens who love their eggs, too, so much that they want to keep chickens in their urban yards. My own living situtation doesn’t allow for much in the way of urban agriculture, but I love being able to support those who are making it happen.

Urban agriculture saves practitioners money. Whether it’s your bountiful garden, your beehive, or your chickens – choosing to raise one’s own food is a simple, effective way to live less expensively and more sustainably. It increases a municipality’s food security, and it teaches self-reliance to neighbors.

Asheville City Chickens was formed to urge City Council to alter the city’s chicken ordinance. Mtn. Xpress writes:

“We’re advocating for responsible and informed [chicken] ownership,” says Cathy Williams of Asheville City Chickens.

The grass-roots group has become a social-networking phenom, with supporters flocking to its blogs, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter sites. In the past year, Williams and other advocates have also been setting up info booths at local tailgate markets, meeting with city staff and contacting elected officials.

Their petition (which you can go here to sign) reads:

The community organization, Asheville City Chickens, is working to change the City of Asheville’s Animal Control Ordinance making it easier for people to keep backyard chickens. In addition, Asheville City Chickens teaches responsible practices for raising hens in an urban setting with an emphasis on positive neighbor and community relations.

We the undersigned ask that Asheville City Council not only support the revisions to the Animal Control Ordinance, but that City Council support Asheville City Chicken’s request that the following changes be included in the revised ordinance:

1. Distance requirements

City residents may maintain a chicken coop that is at least 25’ from any adjacent residence or at least 10’ from a coop owner’s property line.

2. Confinement

The chickens shall be provided with a covered enclosure and must be kept in the covered enclosure or on the owner’s property at all times.

3. Permitting

To minimize any costs associated with these ordinance changes, owners will apply in person to receive a permit for the keeping of chickens and pay a reasonable permit fee (whether one-time or annual). An on-site inspection prior to permitting is not necessary and is an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer monies.

4. Inspections

The City may inspect a property at any time that a reasonable suspicion of a permit violation exists.

5. Public Concerns

To address any potential concerns related to noise and odor, we recommend that roosters be prohibited, flocks be kept small relative to property size, and that coops be maintained in a sanitary manner consistent with existing city ordinances.

Yes to Asheville City Chickens.

Categories : Local


  1. As a once and future chicken rancher I’m all in favor of relaxing the regs concerning poultry in the city. Chickens perform great insect control for gardens, convert veggie scraps to compost and eggs quite effectively, are amazingly stupid and wonderfully funny. Their clucking over discovery of a tasty nibble is sweet, their bocking when they lay eggs sounds like a combination of bragging and shocked surprise, and their cooing is as sweet as doves. Better neighbors than chained barking pit bulls any day of the week.

  2. Doug Gibson says:

    Wait, having chickens in the city limits is against the rules?

  3. Mortise Tortoise says:

    When we lived in the central district off Merrimon three years ago a neighbour had hens and a rooster. It was lovely to hear the rooster crowing at daybreak and at other times as well. One day I noticed the crowing had stopped. I inquired, and yes he had passed. Interesting to discover that he was a “grandfathered” rooster as roosters are apparently not allowed in the city limits.

    Recently or neighbours here in the Beaucatcher area had their hens taken by a pack of coyotes.

  4. Gordon Smith says:

    Doug, the current buffer requirements make it very difficult (100feet) for urban folks. A.C.C. is pushing for a twenty-five foot buffer instead with a complaint based inspection system.

  5. Bryan Freeborn says:

    want me some chickens.

  6. eemilla says:

    The rooster isn’t even requisite for the hens to lay edible (although not viable) eggs. I wasn’t aware of this until my mom started a coop in the county.

  7. Mortise Tortoise says:

    Are roosters no longer requisite for anything?

    Are hens now on their own? I imagine that the rooster might have something to do with eggs coming to fruition to become future roosters or hens, or maybe I don’t know my chickenology.

    Has the chicken finally crossed the road?

  8. Mortise Tortoise says:

    Alice In Cains- Rooster

    Sunday Morning Music suggestion?

  9. Tom Buckner says:

    Ducks are awesome too. We had a couple of Muscovy ducks when I was a kid. And I may get more if I ever finish that pond. Not very prolific egglayers, as far as I know, but they do something for the scenery.

  10. Doug Gibson says:

    Of course, one problem is that it’s sometimes hard to tell which is a hen and which is a rooster until the rooster grows up and starts crowing. My, um, neighbor (clears throat) had that problem, and found someone in the country to take the rooster off his hands.