Friday, February 28, 2014 11:48:00 AM


Un-Incorporated Brevard County has one of the most clearly defined, easy to follow chicken ordinances in the country.

Beginning with half-acre lots, FOUR HENS are allowed per half acre.

The code to allow backyard chickens in Brevard was patterned on the animal and pet ordinances of Fairfax County Virginia. Fairfax County uses the widely accepted concept of an ANIMAL UNIT to determine the appropriate number of animals that can be sustained per household or per acre of grazeable pasture land.  Because of the different types of landscapes and terrain, as well as rainfall averages all over the United States, the number of sustainable animals per acre can vary widely in different regions or even in different areas within state lines.

In the most simplified fashion, an ANIMAL UNIT is roughly defined as one 1,000 pound (454 kg) cow and the animal equivalents in weight and dry forage consumption to equal this amount.  In other words, lush Virginia pasture land may sustain one full animal unit per acre whereas dry Texas scrub land may sustain only half an animal unit or less per acre.  It is really not that hard to understand when you see how Fairfax County defines the animal equivalents:

LIVESTOCK:  They only may be kept on lots that are two acres or greater and shall not exceed the ratio of one animal unit per one acre. Animal units are defined as: 

  • 2 head of cattle = 1 animal unit
  • 3 horses = 1 animal unit
  • 5 sheep = 1 animal unit
  • 5 swine = 1 animal unit
  • 5 goats = 1 animal unit
  • 5 llamas = 1 animal unit
  • 5 alpacas = 1 animal unit

Horses shall include ponies, mules, burros and donkeys. Only horses six months or older and cattle, sheep, goats, and swine one year or older are counted in the ratio. In addition, combinations of animals are allowed, provided that the ratio of one animal unit per one acre is followed.

What particularly makes this type of system appealing is that the property owner is NOT CONFINED to the faults and pitfalls of individual zoning classifications with their contradictory and confusing minutia of rules (as is the case in Florida).  In Brevard County currently, there are 43 individual zoning classifications for property.  Even at 25 rules per zone, that is 1,075 outright rules...and there are CERTAINLY more usage rules than that!  For Fairfax County, the use is simply defined by the amount of property and the number of animals is clearly stated using a proven guideline that supports the welfare and of both people and animals.

In Brevard County, use this simple application: FOUR HENS (no roosters) are allowed per half acre.  By this easy formula, a three acre lot may have up to 24 chickens.  This applies to all residential properties in Brevard County with lots that are 1/2 acre or more.  An individual may have an unlimited number of chickens and certain other animals on property that is designated for agricultural use. 

Easy to use, easy to understand means EASY to STAY CODE COMPLIANT.  Good luck with all the new babies in the spring chick season!!!

Sec. 62-2108. Farm animals and fowl.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, harbor, breed or maintain upon any premises not zoned for agricultural use or otherwise excepted in accordance with this chapter, any of the following: bees, roosters, peacocks, horses, ponies, cattle, goats, pigs or other livestock, or more than one of the following: pigeons, chickens, ducks, or other fowl.

In all single-family residential zones, on lots of at least one-half acre minimum, up to four chickens (no roosters or other fowl) may be permitted per one-half acre of land. Housing, such as coops, that is not considered to be a barn, stall or paddock is required and must meet the setback requirements for accessory structures in accordance with the zoning classification. All fowl are for the personal, non-commercial use of the occupants only. Breeding and slaughtering of any fowl is strictly prohibited. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be liable in accordance with sections 62-1105 and 62-1106.

(Code 1979, § 14-20.28; Ord. No. 98-04, § 1, 1-29-98; Ord. No. 2012-36, § 2, 12-6-12)


See Fairfax County Animal and Pets Ordinances here:

City of Palm Bay, Florida Backyard Chicken Ordinance BREVARD COUNTY 

Thursday, February 27, 2014 11:46:00 PM

BREVARD COUNTY ~ City of Palm Bay, Florida

Here is the Palm Bay ordinance for raising backyard chickens.. 

Up to four (4) chickens may be kept on single family lots in the RE, RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, SF-1, SF-2 and SRE Zoning Districts subject to adherence to the following criteria: (1) Hens only may be kept. Roosters are prohibited. (2) Chickens must be caged at all times and cages/coops shall meet the criteria for animal cagesand enclosures contained in Section 185.118(F). (3) Breeding of chickens is prohibited. (4) Dead chickens shall be immediately removed from the premises and disposed of properly. (5) The cage/coop and surrounding areas shall be clean and properly maintained to avoid the attraction of vermin, insects or predators."

Chicken Code for the City of Melbourne, Florida 

Friday, February 21, 2014 10:10:00 PM

The City of Melbourne has allowed backyard chickens for a number of years.  Their process for allowing pets is simple and straightforward ~ the whole ordinance is ONE PAGE.  The City of Melbourne also allows livestock pets such as sheep, goats and donkeys through their easy to fill out form and one time initial property inspection.  Roosters are not allowed and the number of hens is somewhat determined by the size of the property with a reasonable minimum of four for homesteaders and urban farmers.  See more here:


Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:15:00 PM




City of Rockledge TEMPORARY code for backyard chickens - REFERENCE 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:59:00 PM

REFERENCE for TEMPORARY CODE regarding chickens in the City of Rockledge:


Florida Cracker Sheep information from The Livestock Conservancy 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 8:47:00 PM

The Livestock Conservancy is a non-profit organization in the United States that seeks to protect and conserve over 200 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction since 1977.  The Florida Cracker sheep has recently been recognized as a breed that should be preserved.  Cattle, sheep, horses and hogs were on the original ship manifests when Spanish settlers sought to stake their claim in the New World of America.  Often released into the wild upon arrival, these animals were considered a sort of roaming larder for subsequent settlers.  Early homesteaders in Florida, called "Crackers" took advantage of these free roaming animals and the open range lands.  Cowboys in Florida were very familiar with what became an itinerate, yet viable lifestyle - living in the sandy brush and scrub with what became known as Cracker horses and Cracker cattle.  Currently in Florida, efforts are underway to preserve the Florida Cracker sheep.  Find more information about this breed with the Florida Cracker Sheep Association or contact the local Brevard County based area chapter.

See more about the preservation of rare livestock breeds that are ongoing projects across the country at their website:

The Livestock Conservency goals:

1.  Protect our food systems by keeping alternative livestock and poultry genetic resources secure

2.  Ensure the availability of broad genetic diversity for the continued evolution of agriculture

3.  Conserve valuable genetic traits such as disease resistance, survival, self-sufficiency, fertility, longevity, foraging ability, maternal instincts.

4.  Preserve our heritage, history and culture

5.  Maintain breeds of animals that are well-suited for sustainable, grass-based and organic systems; and give small family farms raising heritage breeds a competitive edge.

This page shows the Florida Cracker sheep listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.


Margaret Goudelock was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi before she transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue a more lucrative degree in Art History, Painting and French.  After working for small businesses for the last twenty five years, Ms. Goudelock has found an avocation in urban farming, gardening and homesteading.

The work of AVID HOMESTEAD continues with efforts to open up properties in residential zoning classifications to support more ecologically friendly urban homesteading including responsible small animal husbandry, urban farming and gardening and cottage industries.  A big part of this effort is through educational programs and platforms that support these ends.  In working with government, our motto is surely an open and friendly one - Let's just KISS!!!  Keep It SIMPLE Stupid.

Ms. Goudelock is married to Toby Napier – the long-wearing sound board and brilliant webmaster for AVID  Ms. Goudelock is the mother of two beautiful girls who are both enthusiastic,creative and love animals.  It is for their continued growth and the preservation of a more natural way of life that we strive.

Brevard County Code Change for Rural Sheep - response letter 

Sunday, December 1, 2013 5:41:00 PM
From:   Rees
Subject: Small Ruminants
Date: November 24, 2013 10:36:13 PM EST


I am writing to comment on your recent decision to reject the petition to amend the county code with respect to small ruminants.

Before I continue, I should declare an interest. I grew up in Wales. Sheep were part of our life, and every spring one of our chores was to ensure that the lambs were born correctly, and the ewes sorted for shearing. I have herded them, dragged them, assisted in them giving birth. I am very familiar with them and understand very well how they live, their needs etc. This experience gave me a deep and abiding loathing of them. I hate sheep. Nothing gives me more satisfaction that a rack of lamb, served on my plate with mint sauce and new potatoes. I will never own another sheep, I will go out of my way to avoid any dealing with them. As I said, I loathe sheep.

I am, however, a fan of a couple of fundamental principles of our legal system, which, after I escaped the sheep, I adopted as a citizen more than a decade ago.

These principles are as follows:

1) Laws should be fair and equal
2) Laws should be biased towards individual freedoms, to the extent they do not impinge on others.

I struggle to see how your decision meets either of these principles.

Firstly, the fact that one is, under Brevard code, able to keep up to four horses on a lot of land, but not four much smaller, less impactful animals is unfair. It provides preferential treatment to one class of citizens (horse-owners) while it capriciously and illogically restricts the rights of other citizens (those who would keep small ruminants). The principle of whether it is appropriate to keep any livestock on such a lot is established in the case of horses. There is no logical basis to restrict the ordinance with respect to smaller, less impactful and more docile animals. You have no logical choice but to either extend the ordinance to allow small ruminants or to revise the ordinance to prohibit horses on these smaller rural residential lots. The distinction has no merit under the principles of animal husbandry, and no merit under the principle of equal application of the law. You have no choice but to make the law consistent and consistently applied. Now this matter has been raised, you are under an obligation to address this inconsistency in the county code.

Secondly, if an individual has a desire to keep sheep, what harm is there in that? If they choose to use their land in that manner that is their prerogative. So long as that does not impact their neighbors, you should enshrine the principle of individual freedoms and rights in property and again make the law consistent. If the law presumes, as logically it must given the permission of horses, that the rural residential lots are sufficient to enable responsible animal husbandry without impacting the rights and comforts of the surrounding properties, then so long as a landowner maintains responsible practices you should not impinge on their rights to use their property as they choose. The law already establishes that horses can be kept on such small lots (something I may take issue with, having owned a horse), and with that principle established, the principle of fair and equal application logically comes into force.

We are proud to call ourselves the "Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free". I know that some of you share a deep concern at government overreach into our everyday freedoms and exercise of our rights. I know that some of you watch the expansion of this overreach with the same deep concern your constituents do. Do your part in pushing back, just a little, on the incursion of Government into the everyday choices we make as citizens.

Let the lady have her sheep, if that is her choice in the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We may not understand that choice. We may not see it as a choice we would make. But, as citizens and as Commissioners we have a duty to defend the exercise of those rights and protect them from unfair and unequal application. Thats why I am writing this note in defense of a citizens right to own and husband an animal I loathe. And that is why you have no choice, if you are people of principle (which I believe and know you to be), but to make the law equal, and equally applied.

Many thanks for your time and attention in this matter.

David Rees.
Oakwood Avenue

PHOTO ESSAY of The 2013 Food Revolution Cocoa, Florida 

Friday, May 24, 2013 1:21:00 PM

AVID HOMESTEAD participated in the 2013 FOOD REVOLUTION event that was held at the YMCA in Cocoa, Florida.  The weather was just perfect as we gathered signatures for backyard chickens in the City of Cocoa, discussed the recent code change to allow backyard chickens in the City of Rockledge and informed people about current code in Brevard County.  AVID HOMESTEAD offers a large selection of support materials regarding general chicken and flock selection, health issues, gardening benefits, as well as general care and maintenance.

Enjoy the photos and we will look forward to seeing you at our next event!!

Margaret Goudelock and Erin Cross at the table for AVID HOMESTEAD.

Discussing the various chicken types and uses.

Erin Cross talking about code change for the City of Rockledge.

Always such a pleasure to be out meeting fellow poultry enthusiasts!!

Hydroponic Tower Garden displays.

Karate demonstration and participation

GEMS garden display was set up beside AVID HOMESTEAD. PERFECT tie-in for how chickens can help in the gardening environment with eating insects, composting and fertilizing.  Some of the Gardendale Elementary Magnet School students who worked in the garden and helped with the display and interactive activities are shown here. Pictured are the Napier children and friends.

Gardendale Elementary teachers Elizabeth Richards, Lisa Cisko and Liz Wallace.


FOOD REVOLUTION May 18th, 2013 ~ YMCA Cocoa, Florida 

Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:06:00 PM

Please come join us for our second annual FOOD REVOLUTION event here in Brevard County!!!  AVID HOMESTEAD will make their appearance this year with fresh eggs, a SPECIAL PETITION to present to the Cocoa City Councilmen and handouts on coop design and chicken care!!!!!  Be sure to see our presentations on backyard composting and the backyard chicken eco-cycle  .  FOOD REVOLUTION 2013 will be held at the Cocoa YMCA on Clearlake Road on the Brevard Community College Cocoa Campus (BCC).  Vendors will be both inside the building and on the campus grounds.

This is a really fun, family event that highlights local businesses and government, home grown produce, gardening and other local organizations ~ all with a special emphasis on healthy lifestyles.  Lots of food and exercise choices and more!!!  Check out the FACEBOOK PAGE at Food Revolution Day Space Coast for a list of vendors and more information!!

Unfortunately, our chicken SOLO will be unable to attend this year.  Our lovely 1.5 year old barred rock hen, who is Brevard County's poster chicken for change is at the HEIGHT of her laying production.  She is unable to get off work at this time!  We will have all of our product info and some of her eggs available at the event though!!!  She sends her regrets!

We look forward to seeing you there!!!



City of Cocoa Exploring Code Change to Allow Backyard Chickens 

Friday, May 10, 2013 11:48:00 AM
The City of Cocoa in Brevard County will begin discussion for allowing BACKYARD CHICKENS within the city limits. Here is the AGENDA outlining their proposal which is four pages long. Please call or email and show your support!! Council members email addresses are listed below. THANK YOU!



This is BABY.  She is a blue cochin hen that lives in Cocoa, but in un-incorporated Brevard.  She works in the garden and follows everyone around as an "assistant" when we are out in the chicken yard!  She is a bantam breed, so she is about half the size of a regular chicken, lays small white eggs and is a very friendly pet at The Farmhouse. 





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