After more than an hour of discussion and citizen testimony Monday, the Durham City Council voted to put off deciding the chicken question for another two weeks.
Seventeen citizens spoke in favor of allowing Durham residents to keep hens in their yards, before an overflow audience even larger than that on hand for the mayor's State of the City address earlier in the evening.
Activist Victoria Peterson and Lavonia Allison, president of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, made impassioned statements against changing the law to permit chickens.
"We do not need chickens in our back yards," Peterson said.
Proponents of backyard chickens included Raleigh City Councilman Rodger Koopman, who has three of his own and said Raleigh has heard no complaints since allowing the practice.
Council members wanted time to review a revised ordinance that Planning Director Steve Medlin submitted earlier in the day. His revision incorporated a provision Mayor Bill Bell had requested, to require advising neighbors before a chicken permit may be issued.
Besides obtaining a "limited agriculture permit" to keep their fowls, prospective chicken tenders must get building permits for their coops. Flocks are limited to 10 hens (no roosters allowed), and kept inside a pen built to ordinance specifications. The amount of chicken manure kept on site is limited to two cubic feet, and has to be kept in a waterproof container.