United Poultry Concerns
3 June 2011
UPC Letter to Port St Lucie, Florida City Council
Re: Urban Chicken-Keeping Proposal

City Council Members and Mayor
City Hall
121 SW Port St Lucie Blvd
Port St Lucie Fl 34984-5099

Copy to Brenda Richardson of CLUCK

Re: Urban Chicken Keeping in Port St Lucie

Dear Council Members:

I am writing to you on behalf of Port St Lucie CLUCK (Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping). This group asked me to provide you with information that would allow the keeping of a small number of chickens per residence in Port St Lucie as pets.

Our organization, United Poultry Concerns, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of chickens and other domestic fowl. We’ve maintained a sanctuary for rescued chickens since 1987. We support people who wish to keep a few chickens as pets, as long as they have the financial means and the motivation to keep their chickens in a humane, caring, and responsible manner, and as long as the municipality in which they reside permits the keeping of chickens and maintains and enforces strict regulatory standards.

These standards should include:

A prior understanding with neighbors that the people concerned will keep X number of chickens confined to their own property and that the chickens will not disturb the neighbors.

Predator-proof yard including a sturdy weather-proof coop within the enclosed yard. The predator-proof yard surrounding the coop should provide secure access to exercise, sunlight, earth and vegetation for the birds at all times. The coop should include perches, straw bedding, and clean, comfortable nest boxes.

A minimum area of at least 10 ft. X 17 ft. per bird = 174 square foot per bird. The more space per bird, the better.

Strict sanitation. Daily cleaning of droppings in the chicken house and yard with a spackling knife, rake or other appropriate cleaning tools. Use of Poultry Dusting Powder to control lice and mites on perches and in straw or woodchip flooring/bedding.

Fresh, clean food and water at all times: plant-based seeds, grains, fresh greens, tomatoes and other garden vegetables. (Poultry feed with animal byproducts should be avoided as it is likely to harbor pathogens such as Salmonella. All-vegetarian poultry feeds can be purchased from feed stores.)

Sunlight and earthy material (dirt, peat moss) for daily sunbathing and dustbathing. Sunbathing and dustbathing are essential behaviors for the hygienic maintenance of feathers and skin and the overall health and wellbeing of chickens.

Rodent control. Grains attract mice and rats. Feed should be kept in tightly lidded aluminum cans or other containers that keep rodents, raccoons and other grain eaters out.

Licensed veterinary care. Chickens need the same good veterinary care as dogs and cats. At times, they may need antibiotics, worming medicine and other medical treatments. A veterinarian willing and able to treat chickens should be located before chickens are kept as pets.

Standards should prohibit all form of filth and animal abuse. Standards for chicken-keeping should:

Prohibit slaughter of chickens or other domestic fowl.

Prohibit use of chickens for cockfighting or other forms of animal abuse.

Prohibit breeding. The problem of unwanted chickens, especially roosters, puts a cruel burden on the birds as well as on animal shelters already burdened with unwanted dogs and cats. Every effort should be made to adopt chickens from local animal shelters.

Prohibit unwholesome living conditions. Chickens are sanitary birds. They preen and dustbathe regularly to maintain bodily hygiene. When a chicken house “smells” of excrement or ammonia gases, the problem is not the chickens. The problem is the chicken-keeper.

Prohibit dirty food and water bowls. Filth and squalor promote disease and suffering in birds. It is the responsibility of the chicken-keeper to maintain cleanliness at all times.

Prohibit crowding. Lack of space among chickens encourages feather-pecking and diseases. Chickens do not thrive in crowded, stressful conditions.

For additional information, please see Recommendations for Municipal Regulations of Urban Chickens http://www.brittonclouse.com/chickenrunrescue/chickencareandrequirerev2310.pdf in Backyard Chickens at www.upc-online.org/backyard/. For Chicken Care, go to www.upc-online.org/chickens/.

Thank you for your kind attention. Please do not hesitate to contact United Poultry Concerns for additional information or assistance.


Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Phone: 757-678-7875
Email: Karen@upc-online.org
Website: www.upc-online.org
Date: May 31, 2011

United Poultry Concerns is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.

Federal ID: 52-1705678

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