Things to know before submitting your permit application:
In the R-80 and R-40 zoning districts, you can have chickens on your lot, subject to limited regulations and with no permit required. In the R-20, R-12, R-8, TR, PDD, MXD, TC-MDR, TC-LDR and TC-LDR-12 districts where the minimum lot size exceeds 6,000 square feet, you can have up to five hens with an approved Accessory Use Permit, subject to meeting certain standards. Roosters, however, are not permitted. To find out how your property is zoned, please visit our Property Information Map.
Homeowner Associations (HOA’s) have private authority to regulate the structures and uses permitted within a neighborhood. Whether or not Cary permits them in your zoning district, if your HOA prohibits chickens, you are not allowed to have them. Or if your HOA has more stringent rules, then you must follow those rules instead. You should contact your association or Management Company for that information.
All backyard chickens must meet the standards as defined in Town of Cary LDO Section 5.3.4(J).
- The minimum lot size is 6,000 square feet.
- Chickens are permitted in single-family detached dwelling units only.
- Chickens must be kept in a coop and pen; or portable chicken tractors, and such coops and enclosures may not include residential structures or garages. All chickens must be secured in the chicken coop during non-daylight hours.
- Chicken coops, pens, and tractors (whether stationary or moveable) must be located in rear yards (behind the line formed by the back wall of the residence.)
- A minimum setback of 15 feet is required from side and rear property lines.
- The coop and pen must be closer to the chicken owner’s primary living structure than neighboring living structures.
- Chicken coop, tractor, and/or pen must be properly designed and constructed to provide adequate security from rodents, wild birds, and predators; sufficient ventilation; and suitable shelter for the hens.
- Chickens must have adequate access to feed, clean water, and bedding at all times.
- The chicken coop, chicken pen and surrounding area must be cleaned of hen droppings, uneaten feed, feathers and other waste, and must be kept in a neat and sanitary condition at all times to preclude odors and aesthetic nuisances. All chicken feed is required to be stored in a secure container.
- Chicken manure must be bagged and disposed of with household garbage or composted on site.
- All stored manure must be completely contained in a waterproof container. Any compost using chicken manure is required to be produced in an enclosed backyard composter and such activity must comply with the Town Code of Ordinances.
Eggs, chicks, adult chickens and processed chickens are for personal use only and are not allowed to be sold. In addition, chicken manure and compost using chicken manure is not permitted to be sold or otherwise distributed. The on-site slaughtering of chickens is strictly prohibited.
If a chicken dies from causes other than slaughter, it shall be promptly placed into a plastic bag, which shall be closed securely and disposed of with your household waste.
- Read this Citizen Guide to Backyard Chickens Permits to understand the standards and documents you will need on hand to apply.
- Link to Town of Cary electronic permit application system.
- Create user account in IDT
- If you’re a first-time user of IDT, a user account will need to be created.To begin this process simply click the “Register” button located in the upper right-hand corner of the IDT home page
- Complete application and upload documents
- To Begin the Application:
- Select “Submit a Project for Review” (yellow button located mid-page)
- For Application Category select “Accessory Use Permits”
- For Application Type select the permit type requested
- For Project Title enter your address and the permit use being applied for such as:“316 N. Academy- Backyard Chickens”
- Upload Documents:
- To Begin the Application:
All required documents shall be uploaded as individual PDFs and named accordingly (i.e. site layout, property owner approval, etc.)
- Property Information (yard size, zoning designation.)
- Plot Plan (showing location and dimensions of coop/ pen and noting exact distance of coop and pen from all property lines.)
- Property Owner Authorization (if applicant is not property owner of record, applicant must submit signed authorization granting applicant permission to obtain a permit for backyard chickens.)
A plot plan is a simple drawing of your property noting all property lines and structures. Here is an example:
Permits are processed within two weeks of a complete submission.
There is a $50 processing fee for the Backyard Chickens Accessory Use Permit.
No. An inspection of the proposed site for keeping of backyard chickens will not typically be conducted by the Town of Cary as part of the permitting process unless the review of the permit indicates the need to verify information. The Town will inspect and determine compliance with the ordinance on a complaint basis or if staff observation indicates that a violation may be occurring.