HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) – There are a lot of people apparently crowing about raising chickens in their backyards as a way to crack the spiraling costs for eggs. If you are among them, you better have your ducks in a row, lest you lay an egg.

A web outfit called City Yolks surveyed its “online community” and found that more than half of the respondents – about 52% – said they were considering adding some cluck to their backyards, with almost everyone saying it was to provide them a source for eggs.

Chicken producers want to do their part to bring down current soaring egg prices. Many are considering raising them in their backyards. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley, File)

CNBC reported earlier this month that the wholesale price of a dozen large Grade A eggs more than doubled last year despite a significant drop since December. That wholesale dozen this month was at about $2.61 after being as high as $5.43 on Dec. 19, CNBC reported. The retail price hasn’t quite caught up.

That’s why so many (85%) of those surveyed said their feathers were sufficiently ruffled to consider giving chickens a home on their range – or at least their neighborhoods.

City Yolks estimates there are 10.6 million households that already have backyard chickens, which has risen about 6% in the past two years. Several cities in the Piedmont Triad have changed their ordinances in the past years to accommodate the concept.

So if you are one of those considering expanding your flock, you have to know what you can and can’t do. If you live on expansive acreage in, say, Yadkin or Stokes counties, you have few restrictions. Inside the city limits, there are confinements.

And, oh, sorry if you want to raise fighting cocks. Roosters won’t be waking you up in most places.

Fowl plays

Here’s a sampling from the Piedmont Triad (and slightly beyond):

GREENSBORO: No chickens are allowed on lots of less than 7,000 square feet, but you can have four birds on lots of up to 12,000 square feet (larger than a quarter-acre) and 20 on those larger. But they can’t be allowed to roam loose, and there are zoning regs for enclosures, too.

HIGH POINT: The city not long ago amended its ordinance about chickens to allow for hens but no roosters (it’s that crowing thing) and a maximum of five chickens.

WINSTON-SALEM: There are zoning requirements for enclosures. The limits are five hens and no roosters.

MEBANE: You are allowed eight chickens per acre under language adopted last year, but 16 for more than 1 acre. All hens and no roosters.

MOUNT AIRY: You can have chickens in the city as long as you have a zoned enclosure and it’s not close to a school or a church.

BURLINGTON: Chickens within the city limits are not allowed, but there are surveys underway about changing that.

LEXINGTON/THOMASVILLE: Davidson County ordinance prevails, and it stipulates it is unlawful to have more than four chickens, and they can’t “run wild.” There are specifics for the pens, too.

ASHEBORO: You can have three to eight chickens (or ducks or geese for that matter) in the city as long as they don’t affect public health, but they have to have that prescribed shelter. Hens only, of course.

TROY: For a $25 permit, you can keep up to five hens (sorry roosters).

DURHAM: 10 chickens per lot are allowed, regardless of lot size, but only hens. And chicken coops are required.

ELSEWHERE IN THE TRIANGLE: You can have your hens and roosters in Raleigh – maybe it’s the NC State effect – and you don’t need a permit. There’s not even a limit on numbers. In Cary and most of the other municipalities there are some restrictions on numbers and gender.

CHARLOTTE: You can have chickens in the city, but you will need a permit. The limit is 20 birds per acre.

REIDSVILLE: No fowl can run wild and they can only be kept as pets, and there are specific rules for enclosures.

DANBURY, NORTH WILKESBORO, YADKINVILLE, YANCEYVILLE: There were no easily discovered ordinances establishing the rules.

Want to get started?

If you are zoned appropriately and want to think about adding chickens, the folks at City Yolks offer a list of tips that so cleverly call “Great Eggs-pectations:”

  • Know the laws for where you live (see above).
  • Know your breeds and how they will perform.
  • Be clear on understanding your cost.
  • How much land space accommodates your birds?
  • Be ready to work.

Then, if get through that and are truly serious, the North Carolina State University Extension Office offers all the tips and advice you could need to raise your brood, from breed to feed.