Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Families get new feathered friends, and future of better eggs, at chicken swap

Katie Fader and her son Oliver, 3, admire their new week-old chick, bought at a chicken swap Saturday in St. Petersburg.


Katie Fader and her son Oliver, 3, admire their new week-old chick, bought at a chicken swap Saturday in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG — Liz Cleckner has been trying to get chickens in her house for years.

"I've told my husband for 11 years that I wanted a chicken," Cleckner said. "I think it's important for the kids to get to know where their food comes from."

Cleckner, 29, saw her chance to press the issue again about a week ago, when she came across a post on Craigslist about a "Chicken Swap" in St. Petersburg.

The event, hosted by Tyra Humphrey, brings poultry lovers together to buy and sell chicks, eggs and other types of poultry.

Cleckner's husband, a St. Petersburg police officer, tried to talk her out of it.

"He looked up the ordinance to try to prove that we couldn't have them," Cleckner said. "And he found out we can."

So on Saturday morning, Cleckner got up with her two young kids and her neighbor (who recently got some chickens of her own), and drove from her house on the city's west side to Humphrey's, in the Five Points neighborhood. Within an hour, Cleckner had collected one small cardboard box and three chicks.

They don't have names yet.

"I can't wait," said Cleckner, a nurse who works at a pediatrician's office.

Humphrey knows the feeling. Last spring, she got her first four backyard chickens. Now she's got nine.

"I had 'em as a kid," Humphrey said. "They're just fun — and they're great-tasting eggs."

This isn't the first time Humphrey has hosted a chicken swap. She had one back in November. It went well, but Humphrey immediately noticed a problem.

"There weren't enough people selling chicks," said Humphrey, 36. "I had a ton of people looking to buy them."

Indeed, if the large crowd of people streaming to and from Humphrey's back yard on Saturday is any indication, the backyard chicken trend seems to be booming in Tampa Bay. More than 100 people stopped by, and questions about chickens were flying as quick as the feathers.

How big will my chicken get? Where do I get its food? Are those the ones that lay Easter eggs?

"I've been doing this for 30 years," said Clarence Pauley of Largo, adding that his grandmother used to raise and sell bobwhite quail to the Belleview Biltmore decades ago. "I've never seen it like this in Pinellas County. I'm just glad to see it's catching on."

It's unclear how many households in St. Petersburg have backyard chickens. The city allows residents to keep hens but not roosters.

Most of the people who showed up at Humphrey's house on Saturday had similar reasons for wanting a chicken. It teaches the kids responsibility. They're good pets. And, yes, the eggs.

"It's like a night and day difference in taste," said Randy Hoedt, 42, of Wesley Chapel, whose son Sean, 11, already has a chicken at home. "Plus you save money."

Marine Capt. Duane Stamm, 33, and his wife Selena, 32, who is expecting the couple's first child later this month, drove from Riverview to pick out three hens. They already have one at home named "Mustang Sally."

"Eggs are the benefit, but we all really fell in love with our pet," Selena Stamm said.

Scott and Katie Faber like the idea of sustainable living and say there are already lots of people in their Magnolia Heights neighborhood who have chickens.

The St. Petersburg couple has been debating chicken ownership for about a year but haven't been ready to commit.

Still, they came on Saturday, mostly to see how their children — Della, 2, and Oliver, 3 — reacted to the birds.

"Being able to grow your own food has a certain appeal," said Scott Fader, a 32-year-old financial analyst. "We're having trouble just doing it."

At the end of the day, the Faders went home with a cardboard box too.

Inside were two baby chicks.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at or (727) 893-8643.

Families get new feathered friends, and future of better eggs, at chicken swap 04/02/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 2, 2011 10:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]