In a survey of the 150 most populous US cities, researchers found that 93% of them allowed for the raising of backyard chickens in some capacity.
These are pretty great odds that you can have your own backyard flock!
Keep reading to learn some basics on how to raise backyard chickens and discover how easy and rewarding it can be!
The Type of Chicken Matters
The most basic question to ask yourself is: “Why am I considering raising chickens at home?”
Do you want to raise the chickens for eggs, meat, or both?
The answer to this question will determine what kind of chickens you need.
Different Chicken Breeds
The purpose for your chickens, egg-laying, meat production, or dual-purpose, will inform what kind of breeds you choose.
Did you catch that plural? The great thing about chickens is different breeds tend to get along just fine. So you can mix and match your flock accordingly.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, there are a few things to take into consideration when choosing breeds, such as:
- egg colors,
- egg production, and
Do your research and know what breeds you are looking for before you head to the store and just choose the cutest ones. (Looks are important, for sure!)
Should You Buy Chicks or Adult Chickens?
Well, there are pros and cons to each. Keep in mind a few basic things before deciding what is best for you.
Chicks will require more initial care and upkeep. They are more susceptible to the elements, hot or cold temperatures, and tend to get in trouble around water.
A chicken’s first 2 years are the best for egg production, you may need to consider rotating hens in and out.
How Many Chickens Should I Get?
First, and most importantly, chickens are flock animals. You will need 3 chickens minimum to have happy, healthy chickens.
The general rule of thumb for egg-laying chickens is that 3 chickens will lay about a dozen eggs per week. So base your decision on your family size, how many eggs you eat, and whether you want to sell your extra eggs on the side.
How Much Space Do Chickens Need?
Plan for about 4 square feet of space inside the coop and 10 square feet of space outside in an enclosed run area per chicken. Make sure that you have an area large enough for the number of chickens you choose, too much space is better than not enough.
Basic Start-up Supplies
There are a few basics that you will absolutely need to have prepared before you bring home your chicks:
- Coop with nesting boxes,
- enclosed run area with protection from predators,
- access to freshwater,
- bedding, and
Getting set up will be the most expensive part of raising chickens.
You can be frugal and repurpose items to use for creating the run and nesting boxes. There are even places to purchase chicken coop plans online instead of purchasing a premade coop.
You Can Raise Backyard Chickens
Preparation is the key to success to raise backyard chickens. If you know what kind and how many chickens you want and have the needed shelter, space, and supplies ready to go you are well on your way to success.
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