People keep backyard chickens because they are good companionship and provide meat and eggs, but you can’t have them everywhere. In Florida, the rules vary widely. Are you allowed to keep chickens in your backyard in Florida?
Some areas have no limits or very little oversight, some have a list of requirements, and there are even places that don’t allow backyard chickens at all.
Since there are no state laws in Florida addressing raising chickens as a hobby, many cities and counties allow you to keep backyard chickens. Counties like Sarasota & Lutz allow you to have no more than 4 chickens, while Orlando allows 30 growing chicks on premises. Permits and regulations vary based on where you live and acreage.
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Can You Have Backyard Chickens In Florida
You can have backyard chickens in many cities and counties in Florida, but not everywhere.
Miami and Fort Lauderdale notably forbid people from keeping backyard chickens.
Meanwhile, Tampa, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Gainesville all allow it under varying circumstances and rules.
Do You Need A Permit For Chickens In FL
Many cities in Florida require permits for backyard chickens. Additionally, the Florida Building code requires a permit for coops over 100 square feet, which cannot exceed 200 sq ft.
There are other standards for building as well, including ventilation, roof cover, and a mandatory enclosure for the chickens.
In most places, this means paying and filling out a form. However, there are a few locations where the permits are exceedingly difficult to get, and not every city or town is chicken friendly.
Below is a list of the cities in Florida where it is forbidden to keep backyard chickens:
- Cape Coral
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- Lake Worth
- Pompano Beach
- West Palm Beach
- Winter Park
What Cities In Florida Allow Chickens
Most cities and counties in Florida have no problem with responsible backyard chicken owners.
However, some places ban roosters because they crow early in the morning. This can be problematic for anyone who works a night shift or generally prefers a quiet, rooster-crow-free space.
Here is a list of all the cities and counties that permit backyard chickens, along with any special rules.
Cities & Counties That Allow Backyard Chickens In Florida
City or County Rules, Limits, Regulations
- Broward County – No # Limit, Roosters are Okay
- Fernandina Beach – Permit Required (Difficult to get)
- Gainesville – 20 Chickens Per Acre, Roosters are Okay
- Hialeah – No # Limit
- Jacksonville – No # Limit, Roosters are Okay
- Jupiter – No # Limit, Permit Required, Roosters are Okay
- Key West – No # Limit, Roosters and Freerange Okay, Permit Required
- Lady Lake – No # Limit
- Lakeland – No # Limit
- Lutz – 4 Chickens Maximum
- Melbourne – No # Limit, Permit Required
- Ocala – No # Limit
- Orange County – Maximum 30 Chickens
- Orange Park – No # Limit, Permit Required, Roosters are Okay
- Orlando – Maximum 30 Chickens
- Oviedo – No # Limit, Permit Required, Roosters are Okay, Freerange Okay
- Palm Coast – No # Limit, Roosters are Okay
- Panama City – No # Limit, Permit Required, Fee Per Chicken
- Pembroke Park – No # Limit, No Chickens in Mobile Home Parks
- Pensacola – No # Limit
- Pinellas Park – No # Limit, Permit Required
- Sarasota – 4 Chicken Maximum
- St Augustine – No # Limit
- St Petersburg – No # Limit
- Tallahassee – No # Limit
- Tampa – 1 Chicken Per 1000 sq ft.
- Titusville – Permit Required, No # Limit
How Many Chickens Can You Have In Your Backyard In Florida
There are typically no limits in the cities and counties where backyard chickens are allowed.
However, a few places have strict limitations, such as Lutz, which caps it at 4 chickens total, or Tampa, which requires 1000 square feet per chicken.
The standards vary based on local laws, so if you are in doubt, please get in touch with your city’s permit office or animal control to find out what is allowed.
Even in areas with no technical limits on how many chickens you can have, it is important to avoid animal hoarding.
Chickens are a delightful company; they provide eggs, meat, and feathers and are relatively easy to care for.
However, that also makes it easy to go overboard. You should never have more livestock than you can afford to care for medically, nutritionally, and physically in sanitary conditions.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “An animal hoarder is defined as someone who has accumulated a large number of animals and who: 1) fails to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, and veterinary care; 2) fails to act on the deteriorating condition of the animals (including disease, starvation or death) and the environment (severe overcrowding, extremely unsanitary conditions); and often, 3) is unaware of the negative effects of the collection on their own health and well-being and on that of other family members “
Best Backyard Chickens For Florida
The best backyard chickens for Florida will always be breeds that do well in hot weather.
With summer averages as high as 95° F, you need a heat-hardy flock if you plan to keep your chickens alive and well.
I’ve put together a quick top-five list below, so you know which birds to choose.
- Barred Plymouth Rocks are a sturdy, unpretentious, and reliable breed that holds up better than most in hot climates like Florida. Better still, they can lay over 200 eggs per year.
- Orpington chickens are the go-to breed for almost any area in the lower 48 US states. This is an easy breed for Florida chicken owners.
- Brahmas are another common breed that does well in the heat in Florida.
- Easter Eggers get their name from their colorful eggs, but they are also known for being heat-hardy and good-natured.
- Welsummer chickens aren’t named accidentally. This breed isn’t considered fancy but is heat tolerant and smart.
Is It Worth Having Backyard Chickens
It is worth having backyard chickens for the eggs and meat they provide. Many breeds layover 200 eggs per year, so you’ll never run out of omelets.
With the rising cost of food, more people are looking into backyard chickens to help supplement their dietary needs.
However, if you want animal companions, but cats and dogs aren’t your ‘thing,’ you may be surprised to learn that chickens are also cuddly and highly entertaining pets to keep around.
Backyard chickens have personalities, and many enjoy activities like being petted.
How To Raise Chickens In Florida
Raising chickens in Florida is a lot like raising them in other places. Chickens need food and a coop for shelter, places to lay their eggs, exercise, and water.
However, it’s important to note that chickens also need enrichment activities in their lives because these birds are smarter than you might expect.
Toys, interesting new foods, and lots of space to exercise are all vital. However, the most important thing a Florida chicken needs is shade.
On the hottest days, you may also need to provide somewhere special to cool off by adding a fan or mister to their home, so your chickens don’t overheat.
Helpful Tips To Know About Keeping Backyard Chickens In Florida
Keeping backyard chickens in Florida is a wonderful way to supplement your diet and have companion animals around.
Although the rules and laws vary based on where you live, much of the state is chicken friendly.
Here are more helpful tips to know about keeping backyard chickens in Florida.
- A chicken’s normal body temperature is 105-107 degrees F. What that means practically for Florida chicken keepers is that they are equipped to handle the temperatures so long as they have shade and adequate water. However, temperatures over 90 can place undue stress on your chickens.
- Before considering which chickens to put in your backyard in Florida, it is vital to consider how well the breeds you like will do in Florida weather. Moreover, you need to provide more than basic food and shelter. You need to have an evacuation plan for your animals in case of extreme weather.
- As prolific egg layers, chickens are also a superb way to supplement your income by selling eggs as a side hustle.
Raising backyard chickens in Florida requires a little additional preparation to ensure they always have somewhere cool to go in summer and an evacuation plan for extreme weather.
However, most heat-hardy breeds will do well in this area. You will need a coop and plenty of space.
In some areas, you may also have to have permits, and a fenced chicken run. With the right preparations, you can enjoy fresh eggs from your Florida backyard chickens all year round.