- R U Ready for Backyard Chickens? QUIZ
- One Dozen Tips to Legalize Chickens in Your Community
- Annotated Ordinance
- Case Statement
- Florida's Chicken Support Organizations
- Sarasota Chicken Resources
- Designing a Southwest Florida Coop
- Top 25 Funky Chicken Facts
- Hurricanes and Hens
- My Chickens Busted by Code Enforcement, What do I do Now?
- 7 Stages of Chicken Keeping in the U.S.
- America's Largest Chicken Cities
- (ABC) Annotated Bibliography of Chicken Legalization Reference Material
Friday, February 25, 2011
Tampa Bay Online Covers Backyard Chickens
Feb. 25. Tampa Tribune reporter Michelle Bearden filed a story online: Chickens clucking their way to an urban yard near you. The story covers urban chicken activity in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota Counties.
Chickens, she declares, are a lot easier to take care of than Stozz, her Great Dane. They're even easier than gerbils. Moreover, they have oodles of personality and possess some smarts, much more than she ever could have imagined. Best of all, when Finney dives into her gardening on weekends, she's got a little hen party keeping her company.
"I just enjoy having chickens around. They're my girls."
Not all cities welcome backyard chickens. As poultry popularity increases, so do community initiatives to change the rules where fowl are forbidden. The Pinellas County Citizens for Backyard Poultry, for example, devotes a website to helping residents organize petition drives and influence local politicians. They've been successful in Dunedin, Gulfport, Largo, Belleair and St. Petersburg.
In Sarasota, Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping, or CLUCK, worked with city officials for a year to get local laws changed. Now residents can keep up to four chickens at home (no roosters), as long as they house them safely in a coop at night and keep them at least 25 feet from neighboring property.
In unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County, it's illegal to keep chickens in residential areas. There's a little more flexibility in Tampa city limits, but restrictions apply.
According to the city's code, 5,000 square feet of land is required for every five chickens or less. And the birds must be kept in an enclosed area at least 200 feet from the neighbors' homes.
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"If you want a companion to hike the Appalachian Trail with you, get a dog," she says. "But if you want some entertainment and the best omelet you will ever eat, chickens are for you."
It's a relatively inexpensive investment. Baby chicks run about $2 at the feed store, and coops can run the gamut, depending on how fancy you want to get. Finney spent about $70 on her accommodations. Feed costs about $25 every month or so; to store it, she bought a couple of $15 airtight containers.
The truth is, Finney's backyard chickens have saved her a lot of money.
"They're my therapy," she says. "They're cheaper and better than any psychotherapist."