Start Raising Chickens Today: Here’s How!
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 want to raise backyard chickens, you’ll need to invest in some equipment. You’ll need a mini-chicken run or a dog crate for the chickens, predator-proof fencing, and a shady place for the chickens to live.
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If you’re thinking about raising backyard chickens, there are some things to keep in mind before you begin. Chickens are not hard to raise, but it is easy to make mistakes and have them go bad quickly. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that can help you avoid mistakes and have better results with your flock.
First, you should make sure your chickens have a fresh, clean water supply. They can drink from a bucket or shallow plastic dish, but it is recommended that you use an automatic waterer to ensure that your hens never run out of water. A durable, food-safe water dispenser, such as the OverEZ Chicken Waterer, can supply clean water to your flock for months.
Chickens should be kept in a secure, enclosed yard, or run. Chickens are prey for various predators, including foxes, pet dogs, and coyotes. To ensure the safety of your flock, build a coop with a fence and keep the coop close to the property line. If you live in a populated area, be sure to check for local laws before starting. If the regulations are unfavorable to you, consider contacting the local government and requesting a change in the law.
After deciding to raise backyard chickens, it’s important to choose a breed that’s right for your circumstances. There are many breeds available, and choosing one can be a fun, educational experience. Some people choose mixed flocks. This way, they get the benefit of a variety of breeds, including great layers like Rhode Island Reds and adorable breeds like Polish.
Besides keeping your flock safe and healthy, chickens also need shade and fresh water. In hotter climates, it’s important to ensure your flock is protected from heat. In the summer, keep water in the coop and avoid letting them roam outside without shade. During the winter, provide shelter from the rain and snow for the flock.
Chickens are most productive during their first two years. Once your hens get older, egg laying will slow down. A good idea is to keep several young hens in a small group and rotate older ones. After this, you’ll have a consistent supply of eggs.
Dual-purpose breeds of backyard chickens are ideal for homesteaders who want to produce both eggs and meat. The breeds of dual-purpose chickens are generally larger than standard breeds and have big, sturdy frames. However, the meat produced by these chickens is less tender than that of standard chickens.
For those who want a dual-purpose chicken, the Brahmas are a great choice. These large, white birds are very friendly and get along well with other animals, and they quickly bond with their keepers. They are also great for families with children because they are docile and placid. However, if you’re planning to raise them for meat and eggs, you’ll need to provide adequate feed for them.
Wyandotte hens are known for being excellent mothers. They can be a good choice for backyard chickens, as they don’t nag chicks until they’re old enough to survive. In addition to being a low-maintenance breed, Wyandottes are also known for being great egg sitters. They can survive harsh winters and are easy-going during the hot summers.
Sussex chickens were developed in the United Kingdom and were highly prized for meat. They are now popular as dual-purpose chickens that lay large quantities of eggs. They have a beautiful, elegant appearance, with white legs, a medium-sized comb, a long and broad back, and a deep breast. Sussex chickens can weigh nine pounds and lay eggs that are light brown.
Another breed for your backyard chickens is the Bielefelder. These birds are hardy and are good foragers. Their feather pattern is complex and resembles a cuckoo red partridge. They are also excellent winter layers. A Bielefelder has beautiful feathers and a quiet disposition.
Another dual-purpose breed is the Orpington. Originally developed in England in the late 1800s by Mr. William Cook, they have become a popular breed of chicken. Their main purpose is to lay large, brown eggs, and are gentle. They are perfect for small backyards and homesteads. They are also excellent pets for kids.
Choosing a dual-purpose breed for your backyard is an essential part of chicken farming. Some breeds are suited to both functions, and they’re the ideal choice if you’re trying to provide eggs for your family. The Gournay chicken has ancient ancestry and is also a good dual-purpose chicken.
Choosing a location for your chicken coop and pen is an important aspect of keeping your flock healthy and happy. It is important to choose a location that has access to a variety of natural foraging areas. For example, you should choose a spot with plenty of grass, bushes, and weeds. Chickens also like to eat seeds and small rodents. Generally, higher-up areas are windier and, therefore, better for chickens.
If you can, choose a location close to your house. This way, you will not have to spend money on installing electric or running water lines. Moreover, you can easily clean out the coop with buckets and hoses from the house. In addition, it will be easy for you to keep an eye on your chickens and prevent them from getting scared by predators. In addition, chickens need to be protected from the hot summer sun, so you should choose a location where there is ample shade.
Choosing a location for the coop and pen is an important aspect of starting backyard chickens. It is important to choose a location with adequate drainage. This will prevent any standing water from damaging the coop or pen. Some backyard chicken owners prefer to install a concrete foundation to ensure that the coop stays dry and will not shift.
The size of the pen and coop should be appropriate for the number of chickens you have. If you are planning to raise a small flock of five to six chickens, you will need about ten by 16 feet of space. However, if you want to keep more than that, you should consider building a larger pen. You should also consider fencing your backyard, as this will protect your chickens from predators.
Ideally, your coop and pen should be separate but close enough to the house to provide ventilation. The pen should also have a ramp. The entrances should have holes near the ceiling, as this will help the birds breathe well. Ensure that the pen has adequate lighting for egg laying. You should also provide fresh water and food for your chickens to drink.
Getting healthy eggs with backyard chickens is possible if you take the time to provide your hens with a healthy diet. Backyard chickens are generally healthy and don’t develop many diseases. They also look attractive and are very friendly and intelligent. However, you must remember that these animals are dependent on human care for their entire lives. Therefore, you should treat them with respect.
When handling your chicken’s eggs, be careful to avoid cross-contamination. If you plan to sell your eggs, keep in mind that even a healthy-looking hen can be contaminated with Salmonella. This infection is very rare, but it can still cause illness. Salmonella infections can cause stomach cramps, fever, and diarrhea and may require hospitalization.
The eggs from backyard chickens are much healthier than eggs from commercial farms. They contain more Omega-3 fatty acids and are richer in vitamin E. They are also low in saturated fat. As a bonus, you’ll have fewer eggs to throw away. And the eggs will taste much better!
A clean and healthy nesting box is a vital element for producing healthy eggs. Make sure it’s free of debris and sand. You can also put crushed oyster shells in the coop to supplement the calcium they need to lay quality eggs. Using this method is also helpful if you’re having trouble identifying predators or other problems.
Chickens are good for backyard egg production because they don’t require a breeding plan or an incubator. Once you get a few clicks, you can choose the best time to start laying your eggs. They will take about four to six months to start laying, and it may take up to a year to reach adulthood.
Chickens also need adequate space. Backyard chicken enthusiasts want their animals to have access to fresh air and sunlight during the day but secure housing at night. Providing an enclosed run will help reduce pecking and stress, as well as allow them to supplement their diets with greens and insects. You may not be aware of this, but chickens are not like other animals, so you should understand their habits before introducing them into your backyard.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.