New Member from Florida, My [short-ish] Story


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 9, 2014
Pittsburgh, PA
Hello everyone!

I would like to start by saying this looks like a promising and welcoming community. I'm not usually active in any forums, so this is rather new to me! I hope it's to be a great learning experience, and maybe make a few friends as well. That'd be great!

I also apologize for being a bit vague in my location here.

Anyhow, my experience with backyard chickens has been rather limited, it's still a rather new concept. The subject came up only a week or two ago while discussing some diet with my mom, the description on this diet emphasized the importance of eating eggs. And I made light jokes about getting chickens, and the topic became more serious, that same day we brought it to my dad, who laughed at the idea at first, but quickly warmed up to it. We started making plans for a coop, [as prices can be ridiculous, and he's an experienced woodworker, so making one was a perfect option] Researching what breeds would be perfect for us, what care would be required, all that fun stuff.

But then I thought, 'Oh! I should check to see if it's legal first!' So i started looking online for laws in my area. Thinks look promising as I find a number of articles about people who keep chickens in their backyards, and how an ordinance in a nearby city, only a few miles away [same county even] made it so chickens were classified as domestic animals, so they were allowed to be kept, though there were some restrictions. A friend I knew used to have chickens of their own a few years ago, and their yard was smaller than ours, and they never had any problems [they unfortunately lost their small flock to raccoons one night :c ] And I couldn't really find anything on the city I'm in. All articles I could find were dated to be sometime in 2011, or 2010, the ordinance for the nearby city was put in place in 2013. There are no articles or pages that I could find with information after that.

So I was confident and doing further research, spending hours to make sure that I would be doing everything right whenever we did start a flock. But I wanted to be SURE that keeping hens where I am was legal. Turns out I'm in an unincorporated town, and the city ordinance doesn't matter, as county law is what matters, since I'm not within that city's limits. I was crushed! Through the course a short amount of time, my hopes of having my own flock went up and was taken away. It seems really silly to think about, but it doesn't make me feel less bad about it.

I've spent so many hours reading the official county laws and ordinances and terminology and definitions, desperately and passionately trying to find some loophole, but none exists as the animal sections are clearly defined. I started looking into how I could propose a change to this law, but the only way seemed to be to go to a council meeting of the county. It seemed to make sense, they did pass a law already, I would just be asking them to expand the range, of course bringing them evidence as to why it's a benefit and readying counter-arguments in my head, but at the same time I was realizing that this wasn't something I could do on my own, I lack the confidence to put myself in such a situation, and I don't know anyone pro-chicken. I joined a group in Facebook, but not really sure what else to do.

Now, we COULD get chickens anyway, we have a little over a third of an acre of property, we only planed on getting 4 or so, no roosters of course, but there are some nasty neighbors around here that would report us at any chance they could. Not all of them, no, but we're not sure if it's worth the risk, even if we were perfect chicken caretakers and they only heard them one morning, walking by the house or something. [Sigh]

This ended up being much longer than I thought it would be, and I appreciate any and all who read part, or all of it!
Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. I'm so sorry about your county's ordinances prohibiting chickens. I wouldn't advise circumventing them and getting chickens anyway, especially since you know you have some nasty neighbors who would report you as soon as they discovered that you had them. The only things I can recommend is either to move to where you can have chickens (which may not be feasible for you) or to try and get the ordinance changed. You should post this on our Local Chicken Laws and Ordinances (and how to change them) section at and see if someone there can be of help. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. I hope that, one way or another, you can soon have chickens. Good luck.
So sorry
.Maybe you could point out that CHICAGO allows chickens - I mean Chicago for goodness sake. Who knew? I lived there for 22 years and had no idea.
Hi and :welcome

That's really bad news about the laws. Sorry to hear it. :( There have been success stories on here about people changing ordinances though - who knows, maybe you will meet some people in your area here and you can work together.

Good luck! I hope you are able to have chickens someday. Great experience.
Welcome to BYC!

You will find a lot of good information here. Keep on asking questions and you will get many good answers.

You may also want to read the FAQ below.

Laws are written to be confusing and even lawyers disagree all the time on what they mean. Does the county law explicitly define chickens as animals before restricting them? Did you talk to the county or state agricultural departments? Also, you may want to talk to the Ag Extension people in your county.
Glad you joined us!

I'm sorry that you can't own any chickens (legally) right now. Good luck in getting that changed, though!
I haven't talked to anyone yet about working on getting it changed, no council members, or even other local people to join me.

The official written law of the county states that only household animals and exotic animals with proper permits can be kept as pets, household animals is defined as any domestic animal that is not used for or in relation to food or fiber industries. [yet certain breeds of pigs are allowed to be kept, i found by reading through. so gives me a bit of hope.]

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