Article Courtesy of The
By Brad Steger
Published July 11, 2020
Unincorporated Hillsborough County has changed dramatically in recent years,
evolving from predominantly rural to notably suburban as housing tracts replace
farms, but one feature of country living may be coming home to roost on a
cul-de-sac near you.
A revision to the
county’s land use code allowing hens on residential property
is under consideration by the Hillsborough County
Commission. The proposed ordinance would allow in total up
to five caged hens and pullets to be kept in a backyard.
Roosters would not be permitted.
Besides the companionship chickens can offer, supporters of
the ordinance tout the food value backyard fowl can provide,
especially during an emergency situation. However,
slaughtering the birds or selling their eggs on-site are
among the recommended restrictions.
The proposal applies to unincorporated Hillsborough County,
but for residents living in communities controlled by deed
restrictions, what the county ends up allowing still has to
fly with local homeowner associations, according to county
officials, who cite the authority that HOAs have under
“Therefore, the county’s allowance of chickens in
residential districts would not prevent HOAs from
prohibiting them, through their governing documents and
rules, within HOA communities,” reads an emailed comment
from the Hillsborough County attorney’s office provided by
the county’s media relations office.
Backyard fowl may take their place alongside furry
friends in homes in unincorporated Hillsborough County as
commissioners consider allowing hens on residential property.
The proposed revision is being guided by Commissioner Sandra Murman, who
represents District 1. She said having a few chickens around a home has
become a beneficial lifestyle trend and that residents in unincorporated
areas should have a chance to enjoy it.
“During this time when the commission is dealing with public safety issues,
I felt it was a good time to improve the public morale and allow residents
to have easy access to eggs that are in high demand. Backyard chickens can
provide many benefits to residents, including food security, pest control
and companionship,” Murman wrote in an email.
Public hearings about allowing backyard chickens will be held on Thursday,
July 23 and Thursday, September 24 at 6 p.m. as the county revises its land
development code. Locations and methods (in-person or virtual) for the
hearings will be determined closer to the meeting dates due to COVID-19
You can stay informed about meeting updates, including agendas and how to
comment, by visiting hillsboroughcounty.org