Backyard Chickens? Oh YES!

backyard chickens fresh eggsIn August of 2013, the City of Tampa, Florida enacted what I refer to as the “Backyard Chickens Act” and city chicken lovers did a happy dance. This law changed the classification of chickens from “livestock” to “pets” and that change is what allows chickens in city yards.

The Ybor City and West neighborhoods of Tampa have been home to wild free-range chickens that are descendants of the chickens kept there since the area was settled. They are protected as icons of Tampa.  Now, anyone in city of Tampa can have chickens.

City of Tampa has a few rules that you have to follow, but they’re not terrible, promise! We want to assure you that you can easily have a small flock to help feed your family, AND have adorable feathered pets too!

The Rules for Chickens in Tampa:

backyard chickens fresh eggs

Here’s the rules:

  1. You must have a single-family home.  Chickens not allowed in apartment or condo spaces.
  2. You can have 1 chicken per 1000 sq ft of lot space. This means typical city lots can have 4 or 5 chickens.
  3. Must have a coop. The coop must be no more than 6′ tall and 125 sq. ft.  Most coops are smaller.
  4. No roosters. This is due to noise issues.

That’s pretty much it! Told you it was nothing to worry about.

For Hillsborough County, the restrictions are much more loose.

  1. Not more than 50 birds per acre if uncaged, maximum 200 birds.
  2. Not more than 100 birds per acre if always cages, maximum 200 birds.

Update as of 10/16/17: I received a response from one of the County Commissioner’s offices in regards to Hillsborough County Chicken Keeping.  It very much differs from what I was told by the Extension Office.  

“The County’s LDC <Land Development Code> defines a chicken as a Farm Animal.  As such, the keeping of a chicken is only allowed in agricultural zoning districts.  There is an option to consider ownership on a case-by-case basis, and in that regard, you should contact Joe Moreda, Director of Planning & Zoning.  His phone is 813.276.8379 and his email is [email protected].”

I will say that when two authorities differ in information, it makes it very confusing for potential chicken owners!

According to State of Florida law, and again for Agricultural-Zoned property per the above, if you want to move further and sell your eggs or processed chickens, you would then be considered a Limited Poultry & Egg Farm Operation and there are rules surrounding that as well (very generous allowances, in my opinion).  You can sell up to 30 dozen eggs and 384 processed poultry per week (<–Click there for more info)! Here’s more information on this kind of farm operation from the Hillsborough County Extension Office’s Small Farms group: Limited Poultry & Egg Farm Operation FAQPlease research fully with the Extension Office, State of Florida guidelines and/or your local Code Enforcement to ensure that you are not breaking any rules before you take on this endeavor!

If you’re looking for rules for an even larger operation, we suggest contacting the Hillsborough County Extension Office.

New to Chickens? That’s OK!

So, you’ve never had chickens before? That’s ok. There is nothing to worry about! We here at Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply, Inc., have all the knowledge and supplies you need. We can get you started now with little peepers here in the Fall, and come Spring you can have lots of cluckin’ eggs!  We have a great FAQ for you right here about baby chicks as well.

backyard chickens fresh eggsIn between purchasing baby chicks and getting eggs, great fluffy-butt moments await you watching your chicks grow into chickens.  If you have kids, even better! Teaching them responsibility for animals and where their food comes from are lessons they will appreciate, share with their friends, and most likely continue for their families.

We hope all of this sounds good to you, because we love to spread the love when it comes to chickens. Whether you want to collect fresh eggs for your family, start a family business selling eggs, or just have a new set of feathered friends, they are a wonderful addition to any family.



Special Announcement: 

Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply is looking for a carpenter/woodworker, to build City of Tampa code-compliant coops for our customers to purchase.  Sell-able in-store display pieces would be built by you based on our price point and size needs.  Serious inquiries only. Must be reliable and able to deliver on a deadline, as well as willing to collaborate with us so we can offer a quality product at a reasonable price.  

backyard chickens fresh eggsDo you fit these criteria? Leave a comment below to let us know you are interested!

(Do yourself a favor, put your email address in the format of:  janedoe at gmail dot com, then it won’t be picked up by spambots).  


Marissa, Director of Communications

Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply, Inc.

9 responses to “Backyard Chickens? Oh YES!”

  1. Guadalupe Godoy says:

    I want to buy a orpington buff rooster. Would you have one for sale?

  2. Guadalupe Godoy says:

    Hi my name isGuadalupe and I am looking for a young rooster. I will like an orpington, but will see others.

  3. Cristin says:

    Hello there looking for baby rabbits and baby chicks

    • Marissa Byrum says:

      Hi Cristin!
      Sure, we usually have rabbits, and always have chicks! Here’s the Chicken Report to tell you more:

  4. Cheryl Sheppard says:

    Hello- I am looking for a safe place to rehome some Silke Roosters that we raised from baby chics. They are 5 months old and we can not keep them where we live. Please let me know if you are interested in taking any in, or if you know of another group that takes Roosters. We can also donate a Silke hen if you wanted to have a pair. They are beautiful birds.

    • Marissa Byrum says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      Yes, we can take your Silkie Roos to rehome. We don’t give you anything for them, but we will find him another place to live (we re-sell roosters). There is also a place in Eustis that is doing a Rooster Roundup, their information: Happy Feet Hatchery, Eustis, FL, (407) 733-4427. If you look them up on Facebook they had a post about it on September 5th for more information (it was too much to post here). You can also ask around in the Seminole Heights Backyard Chickens group (if you’re from the Tampa Area) or in the Florida Backyard Chickens group too, ask an admin (Terri Hudson is a really good resource) because you’re not allowed to post about re-homing (or selling) chickens (some new Facebook rule). Finally, you can look at the MeWe app to list chickens you want to rehome (Seminole Heights Backyard Chickens is on there too). Thanks! And Good Luck!

  5. Amy McLaughlin says:

    I contacted Joe and this was the reply I received:

    Ms. McLaughlin,

    Joe Moreda asked me to respond to your e-mail.

    I did ask for information about how to start a petition and I will post a follow up as soon as I get a reply. If the petition process is not too expensive, I will be starting one in the near future.

    Please be advised that the keeping of chickens in residential zoning districts is prohibited for any reason, including as pets, hobby activity and egg production for personal use as you propose. Additionally, a variance or special exception to this prohibition cannot be granted.

    Please call me if you wish to discuss this further.

    Tom Hiznay, AICP

    Executive Planner

    Community Development Section

    Development Services Department

    P: (813) 307-4504

    E: [email protected]


    • Marissa Byrum says:

      Hi Amy,
      Tom is correct, in Hillsborough County, outside of City of Tampa, residential zoning districts are not allowed chickens. You have to be zoned as an Agricultural zone to have them in the County. City of Tampa has different rules. I live in Hillsborough County, and our store is in City of Tampa. If the petition gets started for having Chickens in Hillsborough County, I’ll be happy to sign it with you.
      If the ruling from 2013 by the City of Tampa has changed, I am not aware of the changes. As far as I know, they’re still allowed within the City limits. Hope that helps! And thanks for reaching out to Joe/Tom!
      –Marissa, Director of Communications, Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply, Inc.

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