April 11, 2013

Brooker Creek Exhibit Hall and Welcome Center closed through next Wednesday

Cleanup from burst water supply line
The Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center Exhibit Hall and Welcome Center will be closed through next Wednesday, April 17, due to flooding from a burst water supply line. The extended closure will provide time for cleanup and evaluation of the extent of moisture damage that may have occurred.

The classroom building and restrooms are not affected by the flooding and will remain open for all previously scheduled activities. Trails will also be open to visitors as usual.

To learn more about Brooker Creek Preserve and its upcoming programs and events, call (727) 453-6800. To register for programs and events, visit Videos featuring Brooker Creek Preserve can be viewed at

For more information on Pinellas County services and programs, visit or create a shortcut to on any smartphone. Pinellas County government is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

April 10, 2013

Chickens 101

Mary Campbell,
Extension Director and Urban Sustainability Agent

Don’t miss Chickens 101 on Saturday, April 20, 8:30 pm to 12:00 pm at Weedon Island Preserve Education Center (1800 Weedon Drive NE St. Petersburg, 33702). Sign up today.

City dwellers are embracing the joys of raising chickens for food and fun. A program offered at Pinellas County Extension will provide expert information on raising and caring for your backyard chickens. The interest in local food production has blossomed over the last few years with more communities passing local ordinances that allow for backyard chickens. Unincorporated Pinellas County passed the ordinance to allow four chickens per resident. As part of the local food movement, raising chickens has many benefits, from fresh eggs to the activity around caring for your mini flock. Chickens are easy to care for and a great learning opportunity for kids. Chickens are friendly and believe it or not, have personality.

A chicken coop in Florida does not need to be expensive or elaborate. An area that is covered by a roof and enclosed with a minimum of two sides for protection from prevailing rain and wind is sufficient. The size of the house should be based on a minimum of three square feet of floor space per bird. The use of fencing helps in confining the birds and provides protection from predators. The top of the enclosure also needs to be covered to prevent flying and climbing predators from entering. Using an enclosed run during the day provides an open area that reduces stress, pecking, and will allow the birds to supplement their diets with a variety of greens and insects.

A chicken tractor is a movable chicken coop lacking a floor which one person can drag about the yard. It may have wheels on one end to make this easier. Chicken tractors allow chickens to find fresh forage such as grass, weeds and bugs as the tractor is moved around the yard. Unlike fixed coops, chicken tractors do not have floors so there is no need to clean them out. The term chicken tractor comes from the chickens performing functions like a tractor: digging and weeding the soil or fertilizing and weeding for crops. Birds have access to fresh air, sunlight, forage and exercise. A chicken tractor also gives some shelter from predators and weather. Hens lay eggs in nest boxes rather than hiding them in foliage. See a demonstration of a chicken tractor at Chickens 101.

Find out how easy and fun backyard chickens can be and sign up for Chickens 101.

Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion or national origin.