There’s a home agricultural movement sweeping the United States. Raising chickens in the backyard, not only in rural settings but also urban and suburban areas, is quickly gaining in popularity. Chickens are very social animals and provide not only enjoyment, but high quality, nutritious eggs. Several websites promote and advocate raising chickens in urban/suburban locales and provide readers information on building coops, breed information, incubation and hatching, growing your own chicken feed and protecting chickens from disease. Search on Pinterest and you’ll find coops and chicken breeds of every shape and size.
Egg incubation and hatching is another aspect of 4-H poultry projects that is awe-inspiring for our youngest to oldest 4-H’ers. To think that a baby chick forms in only 21 short days is amazing.
Raising poultry is a relatively inexpensive and easy 4-H project for youth to begin. Chickens require little space, feed is readily available, and compared to large, traditional 4-H livestock projects, care is minimal. But before you send club members to the local farm supply store or order chicks or fertilized eggs from an online vendor, check city ordinances so that they are in compliance.
In my hometown of Chipley, the rules are quite simple:
- pens must be cleaned regularly and kept sanitary
- pens cannot be within 100 feet of a residence
Tallahassee, however, has three very specific rules with four very specific exceptions. To explore your city’s municipal codes, visit municode.com, select state followed by city. Entering poultry or chickens in the search box should take you directly to ordinances on this subject.
Julie Pigott Dillard is the 4-H Youth Development Agent and Director of UF IFAS Washington County Extension. Having raised chickens growing up, she now enjoys it with her oldest son and parents who have a unique assortment of both production and exhibition breeds. They also teach poultry classes for youth and adults. During the past two weeks, they have hatched two dozen chicks! email@example.com