Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Peeps4Change, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Peeps4Change

    Peeps4Change New Egg

    Mar 29, 2017
    I started a petition on in 2016 to change our local ordinances in Edgewater, FL to allow backyard chickens. I have drafted a proposal for the mayor and city council to review. Can you please take a look and tell me what you think, if i need to add or subtract anything? Thank you.

    Dear Edgewater Mayor and City Council,

    I have recently started a petition via, which proposes to allow residents living within the city limits of Edgewater, FL the opportunity to keep a small flock of backyard chickens. To date, this petition has gained 412 supporters. These 412 supporters recognize the benefits of being allowed to keep chickens within city limits, do you?
    Some of the benefits to keeping chickens include:
    1. Access to fresh, locally sourced eggs that can also be organic and GMO-free. Produce eggs that are healthier than store-bought eggs. Fight Factory Farming with fresh, high-quality protein eggs -Knowing exactly where our food comes from, what conditions our chickens are living in and what food they've been eating to produce our eggs is incredible!

    Providing food security for all families, regardless of income status. Backyard chickens allow all people at all times access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy active lifestyle (as defined by WHO's Food Security definition). Backyard chickens provide educational interest on food security and the origins of our food.

    3. Providing gardeners with high-quality fertilizer. Poultry manure contains all the essential nutrients for plant growth and offers a rich source of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous in the garden. Because of the high nitrogen level and nutrient balance, chicken manure is considered the best type of manure for garden use.

    4. Reducing the carbon footprint of Edgewater - Having a free source of organic fertilizer that doesn’t have to be packaged or transported is not only valuable to the home gardener, it is an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers and good for the earth. Every time you clean the coop, the resulting byproduct is a fresh pile of manure that can be recycled in your backyard ecosystem.

    5. Help controlling flies and other insects/garden pests. Rather than using harmful chemicals or pesticides, use chickens instead. Chickens are known to reduce or eliminate grasshoppers, termites, fire ants, slugs, fleas, and even rodents by cleaning up food sources that might attract them.

    6. Keeping weeds and compostable kitchen scraps out of the landfill, lessening household
    waste. Chickens consume kitchen scraps. No more smelly garbage days, give the scraps to the chickens! Whatever scraps and weeds chickens eat end up being very valuable manure for our gardens.

    7. Chickens as Therapy - Chickens are now being used as therapy animals for people of all ages to address a wide variety of issues including dementia, Alzheimer’s, psychiatric illness, depression, and autism. Their calming effect helps with symptoms like anxiety, emotional distress and social frustration. Chickens have also been shown to reduce loneliness and depression for the elderly. For children on the autism spectrum, chickens have been registered as emotional support animals for their soothing effect. Not only that, they have been shown to increase social skills and play skills, enhance conversation abilities, and promote self-care and independent living skills through daily chores.

    8. Providing a wonderful way for kids to learn about nature, agriculture and the responsibility of caring for animals. It’s also a fantastic way for both kids and adults to gain respect for these intelligent creatures that produce food for us.
    9. Reducing Stress - Studies have shown that tending chickens releases Oxytocin, a stress lowering hormone. Not only that, it reduces blood pressure and decreases feelings of loneliness, which further contribute to decreased stress. chicken watching increases our mindfulness skills. Caring for chickens gets us outside regularly, and watching their methodical scratching and foraging around the yard slows us down and grounds us in the present, providing a meditative experience that can be difficult to achieve in our busy day-to-day lives, particularly in urban settings.

    10. Companionship. If nothing else, chickens make good pets.
    Backyard chickens will generally get far more humane care than those raised in filthy, crowded “factory farms.” Industrial production is creating numerous problems, including pollution from manure, antibiotic resistance, and higher risk of a more dangerous strain of bird flu. Keeping a few chickens at home is one way we can each do our part to address these problems. Limit their numbers, and require clean, humane care — sure. But there is no legitimate reason for any city to prohibit keeping a few chickens, any more than there is reason to ban the keeping of dogs or cats.
    Some of the most common misconceptions and arguments against keeping backyard chickens include:
    1. They're noisy. Chickens will peep and cluck softly throughout the day, and are silent all night. If you don't have roosters, there won't be too much noise. You are far more likely to hear a nearby barking dog and children playing than chickens.
    2. They smell. A small flock(4-5 chickens) will poop about as much as an average dog, and the coop will not smell if it kept clean. With proper bedding and ventilation and care of our chickens, there is no chicken smell. Does poop smell? Yes. Poop is stinky. But, chickens scratch in their coops and turn over the bedding to compost their own waste which immediately masks the smell of a fresh poop and turns into extremely valuable organic fertilizer.
    3. They attract predators. This is not truly a misconception, but can easily be remedied by the chicken owner. Chickens aren't only food for humans-- they can be food for several predators as well. It is the responsibility of the chicken owner to keep his/her chickens contained and safe from predators, just as the same responsibility falls on cat and dog owners.
    4. You need a rooster for hens to lay eggs. This is simply untrue, the only reason a rooster would be needed in a flock of hens would be for reproduction. Hens will still lay eggs without a rooster present.
    5. Chickens carry disease. Like all animals, including cats and dogs, there is a chance that they could pass on disease. The CDC recommends the following to protect yourself from getting sick:
    "Thoroughly wash your hands with running water and soap after contact with birds or their droppings. Although running water and soap are best, if you aren't near a sink you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer until you can get to a sink to wash your hands thoroughly."

    Currently in Edgewater, the city code of ordinances states:
    Sec. 5-8. - Animals prohibited.
    It shall be unlawful for an owner to keep or permit to be kept within the city any horses, hogs, Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, sheep, goats, bees, cattle, chickens, or other farm animals, and any animal from the wild, unless said species are both kept on property appropriately zoned and lawfully permitted, if necessary, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. All venomous snakes permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall also be required to register with the city's animal control division. The prohibition contained herein applicable to horses, hogs, Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, sheep, goats, bees, cattle, chickens, or other farm animals shall not apply to any property within the city that either:
    (1) Maintains an agricultural property designation with the Volusia County Property Appraiser's office as [of] June 15, 2009; or
    (2) Was previously zoned for agricultural purposes and proof is made to the city that such species resided and existed on the property prior to any zoning change and have continuously resided and existed on the property since the zoning change.
    A residential premises shall not exceed a maximum number of five dogs or cats, or a combination thereof, and must provide proof from a licensed veterinarian that each dog or cat has been sterilized. Any premises that harbors an unsterilized dog or cat over six months of age must obtain a breeders permit, an unaltered animal permit or both (those that are applicable under the circumstances).
    (Ord. No. 2009-O-02, Pt. A, 6-15-09; Ord. No. 2011-O-11, Pt. A, 9-26-11)

    What is being proposed to you is a change in the ordinance against owning backyard chickens in the city of Edgewater, and adopting a new ordinance that allows citizens in residentially zoned areas to own a small backyard flock. Many cities that are considered to be far more metropolitan than Edgewater currently allow chickens to be kept by residents without issue. Other cities that allow chickens to be kept in backyards include:
    1. Orlando
    2. Miami
    3. Deltona
    4. Orange City
    5. Saint Petersburg
    6. Tallahassee
    7. Tampa

    Sample Legislation
    1. The city of Edgewater would issue permits to residents interested in maintaining a small flock (4-5 hens maximum) for a trial period of one year.
    a. Participation in a “chicken care class” provided by the University of Florida’s Agricultural Extension would be a required step in obtaining a permit.
    b. There should be a fee to obtain a permit, just as there is a fee to register/license a dog with the city.
    c. Only single-family residences would be eligible, and coops should be screened from neighbors’ views.
    d. The number of chickens allowed would be included in the current 5 animal-limit that the city of Edgewater already has listed in its ordinances.
    2. A building permit would have to be obtained to construct a coop and/or enclosure if not using a store-bought chicken coop.
    a. Building setbacks would apply.
    b. No part of any coop or enclosure should be visible from the street.
    c. The coop and enclosure shall provide a minimum of four square feet per chicken to permit free movement of the chickens. The coop and enclosure may not be taller than five and one-half feet, measured from the natural grade, must be at least six inches lower than the fence to screen them, and must be easily accessible for cleaning and maintenance. A building permit is required under the Florida Building Code if the coop exceeds 100 square feet. The coop shall not exceed a maximum of 200 square feet.
    d. The coop and enclosure shall be covered and ventilated, and a fence enclosure/run is required. The coop and enclosure must be completely secured from predators, including all openings, ventilation holes, doors and gates (fencing or roofing is required over the enclosure in addition to the coop, in order to protect the chickens from predators).
    3. Only hens would be allowed, no roosters.
    a. No other poultry or fowl is included under this legislation, not limited to turkeys, ducks, geese, quail, and peacocks.
    4. All stored feed must be kept in a rodent-proof and predator-proof container.
    5. Coops and enclosures shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition at all times. Chickens shall not be permitted to create a nuisance consisting of odor, noise or pests, or contribute to any other nuisance condition.
    a. Subject to an annual inspection.
    b. Permit may be revoked for violation at any time.
    6. Chickens and associated activities shall be kept for personal use only. Selling chickens, eggs, or chicken manure, or the breeding of chickens is prohibited.
    7. No chicken will be allowed to free roam/free range within city limits.

    This image of a chicken coop is an example of a coop and enclosure combination (12 square feet) that would comfortably house up to 4 chickens. Chickens each need about 2 square feet of living space within their coop to be kept happy and healthy.

    Please consider a trial period, or pilot-program, as other cities have called it, for the allowance of backyard chickens with a permit.

    The full petition can be found at:

    Sincerely hoping for change,

    Wendy Chapdelaine (& the backyard-chicken supporters of Edgewater)
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Just start a flock and sit in a rocking chair on your porch everyday with a shotgun across your lap. I nicked the census man last year.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Egg-citable

    Egg-citable Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 28, 2017
    what you have come up with is awesome. Our small village in Wi. have about 50 people show up at our town meetings and they are supposed to come up with changes. good luck.
  4. wjcolion

    wjcolion New Egg

    Apr 19, 2016
    This is great! I'm currently considering purchasing a house in a covenant restricted neighborhood and have saved your petition should I need to defend my flock (3 hens) from the HOA.
  5. AGraybeal

    AGraybeal Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2014
    Congratulations on your victory! I read in August that they now allow backyard flocks. I love in deltona and will be starting a flock here soon after we buy a home in the spring.

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