For many people, raising backyard chickens is a step towards homesteading. Others view them as a way to put better nutrition on the table. Still, others do it as a hobby because they enjoy learning and taking care of an animal. Regardless of which group you belong to, if you are thinking about raising backyard chickens, here are some tips to follow.
Choose the Right Breed
Consider several different factors before you decide on a chicken breed. You need to think about the number and color of eggs that the chicken will produce. Ornamental varieties generally lay smaller eggs, so you will need more eggs to bake a cake or make scrambled eggs for your family. Some breeds are much friendlier than others. Other breeds are known to be loud while others seldom cluck at all. You also need to think about the temperature as some do better in extremely hot weather like Phoenix and Minorcas while others like Brahmas and Chantecler cold weather.
Fencing is Critical
You will want to retain good relationships with your neighbors, so choosing the right fencing is critical. Be sure to always check with the city before installing, or HOA, as there might be permits you need before doing anything to major to your property. Often a great solution is to attach chicken wire to a vinyl fence using galvanized staples. Chicken wire usually comes in rolls, so decide how much you need prior to purchase. It is also available in a variety of colors.
Get the Right Materials and Tech
It is essential that you buy or build the chicken coop or tractor for your birds. The coop needs a door that allows chickens to get into the coop when they want to escape the weather, for privacy and for safety. You should be able to close the coop at night for safety. The coop also requires ventilation. Choose a coop that allows you to control the amount of air getting in to minimize airflow in cold weather. The coop should also have at least 1 foot of perch space for every bird, and you should have a nesting box for every three or four chickens. Check out our chicken waterer here as your chickens need fresh water at all times.
Choose the Right Feed
While your chickens will eat grass and insects, chances are that you will need to supply them with chicken feed too. If you are raising baby chicks, you will need either a starter feed or a combination starter/grower food. These foods are crumbles, making them easier for young chickens to digest. Later, switch to a layer feed that has at least 16 percent protein. If you want pasture to be their primary food, then you need about an acre of land for 20 adult chickens.
Use these tips and your own ingenuity to raise chickens in your backyard. The results will be fresh eggs on your table and in your homemade recipes.