Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TAMPA Rethinks Hens

Manatee County is thinking about it. Pinellas just did it. And now Tampa is rethinking its approach to backyard chickens. On March 2nd the Tampa Bay Times asked: "Has the urban chicken's time finally come?" That news story pointed out that while Tampa (technically) allows urban chickens, there is a 200 foot setback requirement that means virtually all urban and suburban lots don't qualify. And the Tampa Tribune, via Tampa Bay Online, confirms that the City Council will discuss the issue March 15th. 

Hillsborough County Citizens for Backyard Poultry have an online petition and will likely get involved, even though their main focus is the unincorporated county. They had 162 signatures on March 6th. Here's a link to their Facebook page.

A video shot by Alan John Smith reveals some of the complexity of chicken issues in Tampa. His YouTube offering, shot last month, documents the wild, or feral, chickens of Ybor City. These free-ranging survivors include roosters, so crowing is part of the Ybor City reality. According to Hubpages:

"In Tampa's historic Ybor City neighborhood, wild chickens have been strutting around since the first wave of immigrants arrived in the early nineteenth century. So, when a business owner complained that they were bothering his clients,and called a trapper, most of the community was in an uproar. Neighbors planned a protest, and even passed out "Save Ybor's Chickens" flyers. The trapper now will tag them and monitor the population, which is about a hundred."

While Ybor City residents either like the chickens or have accepted the fact that roosters live and crow among them, residents of other neighborhoods that lack two centuries of chickens are not likely to be so tolerant. The solution may be a managed feral population in Ybor and more neighbor-friendly rules elsewhere in the City.

Here are more links to the wild chickens of Ybor city:
Rabbit's Moon Studio
Tampa Bay Times: In Defense of Ybor Chickens
The Ledger: Ybor City Marches to Save Its WIld Chickens

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