Start Raising Backyard Chickens Now!
By Tom Seest
At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.
If you’ve ever wanted to raise backyard chickens but haven’t known where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. This guide is designed for people who are new to keeping chickens and want to keep them as simple as possible. It covers topics like breed selection, housing, feeding, and first aid.
Table Of Contents
- Which Breed of Backyard Chicken is Right for You?
- What Feeding Tips Should Beginner Backyard Chicken Keepers Follow?
- Where Should I House My Backyard Chickens?
- Are Backyard Chickens Safe?
- What Nesting Boxes Should Beginner Backyard Chicken Owners Consider?
- How Can You Protect Your Backyard Chickens from Predators?
- Where Can I Find Laws and Regulations for Backyard Chickens?
- Where to Begin With Backyard Chickens?
When choosing backyard chickens, there are many breeds to choose from. Some are more productive than others, while others are more laid back. Breeds that lay the most eggs per year are the Rhode Island Reds, Cochins, and Australorps. A little research can help you find a breed that will suit your lifestyle.
The best chicken for beginners is the Rhode Island Red, which is both friendly and easy to raise. These birds are great layers and also tasty to eat. Other popular breeds for beginners include the Australorp, which is hardy and produces great meat. The Orpington is considered the golden retriever of chickens, and it is also a great choice for a beginner flock.
A beginner’s flock should focus on breeding for size, so look for chickens that are low-maintenance. Some of the best breeds are suited for confined spaces, such as coops or chicken runs. Silkies are also a great choice for beginners because they lay fewer eggs.
Feeding backyard chickens, beginners can get a head start on the task with the right knowledge of the animal’s needs. The most common needs are fresh water and food. This is essential for the health and well-being of the chickens. Chickens require varying amounts of fresh water depending on their age, weight, activity level, and outdoor temperature. To keep their water fresh, use an automatic watering bowl that’s attached to the garden hose. Chickens also like water that has a neutral or slightly acidic pH. A simple trick is to add apple cider vinegar to the water.
Feeding your flock will vary depending on the size and type of chickens you have. As a rule, you can feed your flock up to 1 lb of feed per week. Depending on the size of your flock, you can choose a layer feed that’s 16% protein and will keep your flock warm in winter.
Housing backyard chickens for beginners requires that you take some basic steps. One of them is to keep the area clean. Cleanliness is crucial, as dirty chicken coops can harbor harmful bacteria and mold. A clean area will also allow chickens to drink more water. Dirty water can make chickens dehydrated or even die. In addition, a clean environment will help chickens lay better eggs.
A good bedding litter will consist of pine wood shavings, expanded vermiculite, and mold-free straw. The bedding should have no wet spots. You may also choose to cover the litter with chick starter paper during the first five days. Be sure to place it over the litter, which should not be slippery.
Another important step in housing backyard chickens is to keep predators out. Chickens are not strong enough to fight large predators. Moreover, their claws and beaks are useless against these creatures. Therefore, you need to be very aware of the predators in your neighborhood. It is also important to cover the top portion of the coop so predators cannot reach the chickens.
If you are a newbie backyard chicken farmer, it is important to have a first aid kit in your chicken coop. It can be a simple kit composed of things found in your pantry or kitchen. You may also want to consider adding garlic to the kit, as this is an effective treatment for external parasites and will not affect the chicken’s eggs.
Besides ointments, you should also include cotton swabs. These can be used to clean wounds and apply ointments. These are also useful for trimming beaks and nails. A pair of scissors will provide you with more control and better visibility when trimming the nails.
A syringe is another useful item to have in your kit. This will allow you to easily administer medicine to the injured part of the chicken. You may also want to use a syringe to mix a liquid diet for your chickens.
Nesting boxes are an essential part of raising backyard chickens. Your hens need to be able to lay eggs without being disturbed. A good design allows you to access the nesting box easily. Make sure it’s large enough to accommodate the hens’ nests. It should also be able to hold plenty of nesting material.
There are many different types of nesting boxes. Choose one that offers ventilation and has lips on its side or back to catch the eggs. Nest boxes can also include dried herbs, which can help keep the chickens’ nests smelling good and provide soothing scents. You can also choose a rollaway nest box, which requires that you make it angle on its sides.
As for the size, nesting boxes should be 12″ square or larger, depending on the number of hens in your flock. Chickens will fight over nesting boxes, so a good rule of thumb is one box for every four chickens.
One of the most important things to remember about keeping backyard chickens is that they are vulnerable to predators. These animals can attack your flock at any time of the day or night. Some predators leave signs, like droppings or feathers, which you can use to determine whether an attack has occurred. Other predators are nocturnal and are not always as easily spotted.
You can help keep backyard chickens safe from predators by securing your coop. A fence is a great first line of defense, but you must be aware of which animals are most likely to come into your area. The most common predators include foxes, owls, coyotes, and raccoons. Though it is possible to keep most predators out, some may be hard to deter. In these cases, you may have to dispatch them.
One of the most effective ways to protect chickens from predators is to install high-quality fencing. This will not only keep predators out, but it will also prevent your chickens from becoming a nuisance on your neighbors’ property. Remember to install a wire mesh that has no holes larger than one inch. You can also install electric poultry fencing.
If you are planning to raise backyard chickens, you should be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding backyard poultry keeping. In some territories, such as the UK, you will be required to register your flock of chickens if you have more than 50. However, this requirement is less stringent in urban areas. You should check with your local council and see whether your neighbors have any objections to keeping poultry.
Backyard poultry laws can vary by location and are often related to the size of the coop and proximity to neighboring property. However, it is important to comply with any regulations in order to ensure that your chickens are safe and legal. Some cities and towns also have lobbyists who work to protect backyard poultry rights. In addition to animal welfare, there are environmental issues to consider as well.
Backyard chickens should have access to the outdoors during the day and to a coop during the night. However, the coop should also be fenced in order to keep predators out. Providing a secure henhouse is an important part of raising chickens in the city. A fully enclosed run reduces pecking and stress for the birds and will also allow the birds to supplement their diets with insects and greens. Backyard chicken owners must also be aware of the dangers that urban wildlife may pose, including free-roaming cats and dogs.
Chickens are great for backyard farmers, as they will help you to weed your garden and eat bugs. They also patrol the yard for pests, so you can expect to see fewer pests after introducing chickens. However, they are prone to getting attacked by foxes, bears, coyotes, and even your pets. You should protect them from predators, and also keep your chickens away from your neighbors’ pets.
As with any other pet, chickens require regular food and water, time to roam, and regular health checks. It is essential to learn more about different breeds, how to raise chicks, and common problems and diseases. Before purchasing a flock of chickens, make sure you have the time to care for them. Backyard chickens do not lay eggs forever, so you should prepare yourself for that.
Before you start raising backyard chickens, you need to consider local ordinances and rules about keeping them. Most communities allow backyard chickens, but some have strict regulations. Check with your local government and homeowner’s association about how many hens are allowed and what you can and cannot do with the eggs. You also need to find out if the slaughtering of the hens is prohibited in your town or city. Some towns may also require a building permit to keep chickens in your backyard.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.