Stevens Hardware off of Market Street has been selling baby chickens for less than a year, but they're already a hit with customers.
"They're super simple- they need three things- food, water and shelter," said store manager Andy Stevens.
The manager said the chicks are sold for cheap, but the accessories like bird feed are what generate the most revenue.
"We started out- bought a hundred, and took off from there," the manager explained.
Stevens said the purchased chickens can be found all over the area, but aren't very noticeable because they are relatively quiet animals.
"There are hundreds, thousands of people that have two, four, six, eight chickens in their backyard- probably your neighbor has some. People are raising their own for eggs or pets or whatever," explained Stevens.
It is legal for city residents to keep these birds in their backyards, but there are restrictions.
According to Wilmington city code, those restrictions include having to keep the birds on a tract of land of at least 20 thousand square feet and keeping them in a secure fenced enclosure at all times.
*The complete list of restrictions is listed at the bottom of this article.
Wilmington City Council member Laura Padgett said that the council has not discussed the city's ‘domestic fowl' ordinance in at least two years.
"If someone is keeping a chicken in their backyard and it isn't bothering their neighbors and nobody's said anything than the city is not going out looking in backyards for chickens," stated Padgett.
She said that the city had not received many complaints about "domestic fowl" violations. The council member elaborated that the city does not keep track of how many domesticated birds are living in the city.
"I have no way of knowing and I don't think city staff does at this point of knowing how many people have chickens, how they're keeping them," she said.
Stevens said the people that are keeping the birds, have them in safe hands.
"These people are nuts. I mean they love their chickens. I love my chickens. It's more than just a bird. We love our chickens," said Stevens.
Sec. 6-2. Domestic fowl.
It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any chicken or tame or domestic fowl of whatever description to permit such an animal to be or run at large within the City.
No person shall keep or maintain domestic fowl in the City unless the fowl will be on a tract of land or maintained as follows:
The tract shall consist of at least twenty thousand (20,000) square feet under single ownership or control;
Such fowl must be contained in a secure fenced enclosure at all times;
The enclosure shall have a minimum of ten square feet of area for each fowl;
No enclosure shall be erected or maintained within the front or side yard (as defined by the zoning ordinance), within twenty-five (25) feet of any property line or within one hundred (100) feet of another residence;
The enclosure shall be kept clean, sanitary and free from accumulations of excrement and objectionable odor; and
No more than twenty (20) such fowl shall be kept or maintained per acre. The number of fowl shall be proportionate to the acreage. There will be no discounting for chicks or other young fowl.
A violation of any provision of this section is hereby declared to be dangerous and prejudicial to the public health or safety and to constitute a public nuisance. Such nuisances shall be abated as set forth in Article II of Chapter 10 of the Wilmington City Code.
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