Throughout America, raising backyard chickens has become extremely popular in recent years.
No longer the domain of those living on farms and remote rural dwellings, across the country people are now choosing to raise their own chickens.
There’s a very simple reason for this, not only does it mean you have access to fresh eggs every day, when it comes time to cull a bird for the dinner table, you know exactly what you are eating.
However, raising backyard chickens is a big responsibility.
Everything from housing, feeding and watering as well as keeping out the prey, (our recent best automatic chicken door article covered this little issue) and on top of the egg collecting.
Still, if you have reached this page, you are clearly not put off by the hard work.
And to make things a little easier, we have come up with this top 10 list to help you get your chicken raising operation off the ground.
1. Buy a pre-built coop (or at least build off a design)
You may have ideas of the kind of coop you want, you may even fancy reaching for the power tools and knocking up something yourself.
I mean, how hard can it be right?
Harder than you think actually.
If you are starting out the best course of action is a prebuilt coop that will come with everything you need to keep those chickens safe and happy.
If you do wish to build it yourself, you should have designs to go off of if you want the finished result to be structurally sound.
2. Get in tune with your chicken’s laying habits
Different breeds of chicken will lay eggs at different rates. Egg laying will also vary with the season.
Keeping on top of their food levels and ensuring consistency, (good, whole grain food with at least 17 percent protein, a healthy amount of water is our recommended sweet spot), as well as making sure they get enough light and time roaming the coop is essential.
While at first the laying activity may seem erratic, as the birds become comfortable and are of good health, you will find you have more than enough eggs for a daily healthy breakfast.
3. No room for the squeamish
If you think a little chicken poop on your hands and clothes, (even in your mouth if you happen to get in the way of a flapping wing from time to time) is going to upset you, chicken raising may not be for you.
You may also come across the occasional murder. That’s right, chickens are susceptible to a number of predators. If a fox, dog, coyote or raccoon make their way in, the next morning can be a horror story.
This is another reason why a purpose-built coop is essential. Add an electric timed door to the setup and the chances of you having to clear up a bloodbath are made that much slimmer.
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4. Look out for the rooster
Because you will pick up the birds when they are young, the sex cannot always be fully determined.
Until they are older that is.
At which point you may discover that you do in fact have a rooster among your brood.
It is actually illegal to have a rooster in most urban and suburban areas, (noise complaints will soon accompany a maturing rooster within your coop), so the sooner you discover the little man, and find him a new home, the better.
You can always eat him of course.
5. Keep on top of the cleaning
Keeping the coop clean is all part of raising healthy, happy chickens.
Straw and Diatomaceous Earth are a good choice to help keep the odor down.
However there is still the issue of waste; chickens produce a lot of it.
This waste in turn attracts the flies. To avoid this you should clean and replace the straw weekly and hang fly trap throughout the coop.
6. Finally, remember to enjoy it
Raising chickens is about more than just enjoying healthy eggs and meat.
A lot of satisfaction can be had from seeing your brood flourish. And with that, you should take time to sit and watch them.
As strange as that might seem, it’s actually a very relaxing state to be in.
Image Credits: Pixabay.com